While contacts provide excellent vision and decrease peripheral distortion, they take a good deal more care than eyeglasses in order to wear them safely and comfortably.  Here are some tips you should be aware of in order to maintain and enjoy your contact lenses.


DO wear contact lenses only as long as suggested by the eye doctor, and according to the FDA approved wearing time.
Disposable contacts should be replaced after the recommended wearing time whether it is one day, one week, two weeks, one month or three months.  Disposable contacts are often a good alternative becuase they can be replaced before proteins and other deposits build up on the lenses.  If contact lenses are not replaced on schedule this results in irritation, infection, corneal swelling or edema, and decreased vision.  Never sleep in, or wear contacts overnight, unless the lenses are specifically approved for overnight use.  Sleeping in contact lenses decreases the amount of oxygen to the eye and increases the amount of deposits on the lenses, leading to potentially serious complications.

DON'T ignore warning signs of symptoms.
Symptoms of an eye infection or ulcer include redness, pain, blurred vison, discharge, and sensitivity to light.  Contact lenses should be removed at the first sign of redness or irritation and an appointment scheduled with the eye doctor.  It is wise to follow this advice:  "If in doubt, take them out." 

DO follow the recommended care regimen.
Not all solutions are created equal.  Mixing and matching solutions that don't go together can damage a contact lens or irritate the eye.  You should also be cautious when using store brand contact lens solutions.  That's because you never know what you're really getting.  Store brands come from suppliers who might find something cheaper and switch formulations without notice.  In addition, some private label brands use older formulations that can be quite drying to the eye.  The purpose of today's multi-purpose solutions for cleaning, rinsing, and storing lenses make contact lens care easier.  However, it is important to use a solution recommended by your doctor to insure that it kills a broad range of bacteria and micro-organisms and the preservatives in the solution will not irritate your eyes.

DON'T have unclean hands if handling contact lenses.
Dirt, lotions, and lint from towels can be transferred to a contact lens from the hands.  Even soap that is not rinsed off well can get in or onto the lens and irritate the eye.   A good choice to use with contact lenses is a spcific contact lens hand soap or soaps without moisturizers.  Wash hands thoroughly including under the fingernails and rinse well.  A lint-free towel or paper towel can be used to dry hands in order to avoid fibers getting on the lens.

DO have a backup pair of eyeglases.
It is important to give your eyes a rest from contact lens wear, which means removing contact lenses and wearing glasses dring the evening or even once a week.  Also, if experiencing redness, irritation, sensitivity to light or pain the contact lenses must be removed and an eye doctor consulted.  With a backup pair of glasses it is still possible to drive, work, etc. when contact lenses are removed.