Once terrified of the idea of inserting something into my eye, I hesitated to try out contacts. But the possibility of clear vision, without glasses, was too incredible for me not to try, at least. Ten years later, I’m glad I did. And after finally overcoming my fear about contact lenses, I learned a lot through my own mistakes; asking questions to my doctor, witnessing others, and doing some investigating on my own online. Diagnosed with a myriad of eye conditions, I use “monthlies,” which is to say I use the kind that I remove every night and keep them in a case to use them again the following day and then I replace the lenses with new ones from the box every 30 days. But regardless of the type of contact you wear, the tips I learned will still apply. Without further ado, here’s what I learned.
1. *Never sleep with your contacts.
*Unless they are the ones specially made to wear throughout the night.
Wearing contact lenses to sleep is dangerous because it keeps your eye from getting the oxygen and hydration it needs. Without this, your eyes are drastically more at risk of eye infection.
Additionally, your eyes will be so dry when you wake up in the morning, and it may be a bit harder to remove them since they’ve been stuck to your eyes. If you have slept in them once or twice by accident (guilty), it’s nothing to worry about. But make sure to remove your lenses as soon as you wake and not wear them the rest of the day. Opt for your glasses to give your eyes a break and a chance to “breathe.”
2. You may accidentally tear the contact when inserting/removing/handling the lens.
And before you panic: no, the lens cannot get “lost” in your eye. It is going to come out. Here is what to do:
- Breathe. Keep blinking.
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer again before touching your eye.
- Look in the mirror with your eye open (I’m sorry, I know all you’ll want to do is keep it closed, but we’re trying to get it out right now.)
- Try to gauge where the piece is. If you cannot see it, look left and right, up and down. Moving your eye will most likely do the trick, and you’ll feel where it is.
- Reach in and grab it. If you cannot, ask someone else to. (Yes, I’ve had to ask my sister in panic and forced her to wash her hands before successfully taking it out of my eye. Thanks, sis!)
- Blink for about 5 minutes or so without any contact in, and let your eye recover.
- Once it feels okay, you can put in a new contact into that eye (of course, do not use the piece that’s ripped.)
Pro-tip: before putting in your contacts, look at them closely and examine for any small tears. Even the slightest tear, once in your eye, will irritate it and can progress to a larger one.
3. Eyedrops are your best friend.
But make sure they’re contact-specific.
4. In a situation where you don’t have any contact solution and need some, check out late-night delivery services like gopuff.com or 7now.com, which can deliver it to you.
5. In a situation where you do not have a contact case, use some creativity.
6. Make sure to remove any mascara or eye makeup residue before putting contacts in your eyes.
7. With or without them, you are beautiful. Rock your glasses, and let your eyes rest because they need to.
8. Keep your nails short if you struggle with removing your contacts. It will make the process easier.
Also, shorter nails will reduce the risk of tearing the thin and delicate lens (see tip #2).
9. Blinking is incredible.
Think blink. If you have something stuck in your eye, and you’re wearing contacts, you don’t have anything to wash your hands with/contact solution/eye drops, BLINK. It will help. Do it so much and so fast that you look weird for like two minutes.
10. Always keep an extra pair of contact lenses or glasses on you.
(11. Patience is critical. Don’t expect to be a pro on your first try or even your first month. But practice makes perfect, right?)
I hope these tips help out in one way or another. Separate posts about my vision journey and the science behind contact lenses are coming, so stay tuned! For more wellness tips, check out this page.