It’s not possible to review every patient’s lens hygiene habit at every visit, which is why I have patient-specific hygiene tips printed on my patients’ after visit summary (AVS). The blank spaces leave room for customization of instructions for each patient.1 So, take a look at the lens wear dos and don’ts I give to my patients and feel free to customize this cheat sheet as needed.
• Always wash and rinse your hands before handling your lenses or touching your eye. Use a mild non-cosmetic (oil- and fragrance-free) soap and dry your hands with a lint-free cloth.
• Replace your contact lenses every _______________.
• Use only recommended solutions and follow label instructions.
• When handling lenses, work over a clean flat surface or a plugged sink.
• Clean your lenses immediately after removal.
• Rub and rinse your lenses.
• If you drop a lens, clean and disinfect before reapplying.
• Discard all solutions one month after opening, even if there is solution remaining.
• Scrub your lens storage case in hot water with a clean washcloth at least once a week.
• Store your contact lens case upside down with the caps off.
• Replace your lens case every three months.
• Carry your storage case and solution with you at all times.
• Always keep your glasses up-to-date, so you can use them if you lose or break a lens, or if you are advised not to wear lenses for any period of time.
• Close your eyes when using cosmetics or aerosol sprays, such as hairsprays. Such products may leave a residual film on the lens.
• Use goggles when swimming with contact lenses.
• Wear protective glasses or goggles if you are in any situation where dust, sand grit or other foreign matter could enter your eye.
• Consult your eye care practitioner if you experience any redness, secretions, visual blurring or pain.
• Don’t sleep in your contact lenses without doctor approval.
• Don’t wear lenses when you feel ill or are running a fever.
• Don’t wear your lenses if your eyes are uncomfortable or red.
• Never place a lens in your mouth for cleaning or wetting.
• Don’t expose your contact lenses to any water: tap, bottled, distilled, lake or ocean water. Water is not sterile and increases your risk of infection. It also lacks the correct salt balance and can damage lenses.
• Never rub your eyes vigorously while wearing lenses.
• Don’t “top-off” the solutions in your case. Discard all of the leftover contact lens solution after each use. Never reuse any lens solution.
• Don’t use contact lens solutions past their expiration date.
• Don’t mix up your lenses. Always insert or remove the right lens first and ensure that it is safely on your eye or in the storage case before attempting the left.
• Don’t expose your lenses or storage case to undue heat.
• Don’t transfer contact lens solutions into smaller, travel size containers. This can affect the sterility of the solution, which can lead to an eye infection.
Make-Up and Contact Lenses
• Apply cosmetics after you insert your lenses.
• Apply eye make-up only on the outer lid margin past the lashes.
• Remove lenses before removing make-up.
• Remove all make-up daily with an oil-free, hypo-allergenic remover.
• Clean lenses immediately if you get any make-up on your lenses.
• Use a non-oily, waterproof mascara to prevent flaking and excessive smudges.
• Replace mascara and eyeliner every three months.
• Don’t wear contacts or apply cosmetics if you have red or swollen eyes or have an eye infection.
• Don’t use water or saliva to lubricate the make-up applicator.
• Don’t apply eyeliner to the inner margin of your eyelid.
• Don’t share cosmetics.
• Don’t expose cosmetics to heat.
• Don’t use glitter make-up, as it may get under the lens and scratch the eye.
1.FDA.gov. Contact Lens Solutions and Products. Available at: www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/productsandmedicalprocedures/homehealthandconsumer/consumerproducts/contactlenses/ucm062584.htm. (Accessed September 2010).