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Applying, Removing and Caring for Contact Lenses

Applying, Removing and Caring for Contact Lenses Getting used to wearing contact lenses can take a little time, and even long-time wearers of contact lenses may still have some questions. Read on for some helpful advice on common contact lens topics. Follow these tips to minimize your chances of infection and maximize your comfort.

How to Apply Contact Lenses
1. Wash your hands thoroughly with mild soap before starting, to remove any traces of makeup, hand cream or perfume which may be on them. Do not use soap which contains lotion, lanolin, or other oily components, as the residue may stay on your hands and then get on your lenses. Rinse your hands well and dry with a lint-free towel.

2. Sometimes lenses can get stuck, so give the lens case (with the solution still inside) a gentle shake to loosen the lenses before trying to remove them. Never pull or prod a stuck lens with your fingers, as this can cause damage.

3. To help keep you from getting your lenses mixed up, always do the same eye first. Slide the lens out of its case and onto the palm of your hand, then rinse it thoroughly with contact lens solution. Make sure that you keep your lens-application fingertip dry during this process. (You can use your index finger or your middle finger, whichever is more comfortable for you.)

Place the contact lens on the tip of your chosen finger and inspect it to make sure the lens is not inside out. If the lens is a bowl shape with edges turning slightly inward, it is correct. If however, the edges are flaring outward, it is inside-out and needs to be fixed before you can put it in your eye. Another way to tell is by gently squeezing the lens using the thumb and finger of your other hand. The edges will turn outward if the lens is inside-out, but will turn inward if it is ok. Some lenses are even marked with laser markings on the edge to help you. If you can read the writing it is the correct way out.

If your lenses are tinted, it can be even easier to tell which way is correct. Put the lens on your finger and look down at it. If it is the correctly oriented, the edge of the lens will look very blue (or green). If the lens is inside-out the color will not be seen so clearly.

If you do accidentally put the lens in inside- out, don’t worry, it won’t do any damage; it will just feel uncomfortable.

4. With the finger and thumb of your other hand, open the eye by pulling up on the upper eyelid and down on the lower eyelid.

5. Looking up or forward, place the lens on your eye. You can apply it by placing it on the white of the eye closest to your ear.

6. Roll your eyes around in a circle then blink to centre and settle the lens perfectly in place. If necessary, close the eye and gently massage the lens in place through the eyelid.

How to Remove Soft Contact Lenses – the Pinch Method
1.Wash your hands thoroughly with mild soap before starting, to remove any traces of makeup, handcream or perfume which may be on them. Do not use soap which contains lotion, lanolin, or other oily components, as the residue may stay on your hands and then get on your lenses. Rinse your hands well and dry with a lint-free towel.

2.If possible, stand over a countertop or other surface where your lens can be easily found if dropped. If you have to stand over a sink, cover the drain with a paper towel to avoid losing your lens.

3.Pull down on your lower eyelid while looking upwards or sideways. Then, using your finger, gently move the lens to the white part of your eye.

4.Pinch the lens gently with your thumb and index finger, then lift it off the eye. Initially you should ensure your nails are kept short to avoid accidentally scratching your eye during this process.

If you have trouble removing a lens, the most important thing to do is not panic. Contrary to popular belief, it is impossible to lose a contact lens behind your eye, thanks to a membrane which connects your eye to the back of your eyelid. If you relax and take your time, you will be more likely to remove the lens successfully and less likely to damage your eye or the lens in the process.

How to Remove Rigid Contact Lenses – Finger and Thumb Method
1.Wash your hands thoroughly with mild soap before starting, to remove any traces of makeup, handcream or perfume which may be on them. Do not use soap which contains lotion, lanolin, or other oily components, as the residue may stay on your hands and then get on your lenses. Rinse your hands well and dry with a lint-free towel.

2.If possible, stand over a countertop or other surface where your lens can be easily found if dropped. If you have to stand over a sink, cover the drain with a paper towel to avoid losing your lens.

3.Bend forward, cup your hand, and hold it palm-up under your eye. (Use your left hand for your right eye and vice versa.) This hand will catch the contact lens when it falls from the eye.

4.Open your eye wide. With your other hand, place a finger at the outer corner of the eye, and pull the skin outward. This will break the suction of the lens.

5.Blink and the lens should fall into your cupped hand.

You can also use a special device called a “plunger” to remove your rigid lenses, if you have difficulty with the above method. When using a plunger, make sure that you touch only the contact lens with it and not the eye itself.

If you have trouble removing a lens, the most important thing to do is not panic. Contrary to popular belief, it is impossible to lose a contact lens behind your eye, thanks to a membrane which connects your eye to the back of your eyelid. If you relax and take your time, you will be more likely to remove the lens successfully and less likely to damage your eye or the lens in the process.

Make-up Tips
Getting makeup in your eye is annoying for anyone, and even worse for contact lens wearers, because makeup tends to stick to the lenses and not wash out of the eye. But there’s no need to give up all those pretty colors just yet! With a little common sense and good hygiene, you can minimize the risks of irritation and other eye problems.

First, choose your makeup wisely. Look for non-allergenic products, and keep in mind that cream makeup is less likely to end up in your eyes than liquids or powders. However, cream makeup can be more of a nuisance if it does actually make it into your eye, so look for water-based creams rather than oil-based. (Typically, anything labeled “waterproof” is oil-based, but some non-waterproof makeup may be also. When in doubt, check the list of ingredients on the product.)

Always put in your contact lenses before applying makeup, and make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before you handle them. Never apply eyeliner on the “waterline” between the lash line and your eye. If you’re using powdered eye makeup, keep the eye closed during application, and remove any excess before reopening it.

Before removing your eye makeup, wash your hands and remove your contacts, being careful not to get any makeup on the lenses as you take them out of your eyes. Once the lenses have been removed, it is safe to use eye makeup remover.

Eye makeup should be replaced every three to six months, as over time products like eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara become contaminated with bacteria. Using old makeup can cause an eye infection. Similarly, never share your eye makeup or applicators with other people, even if they appear healthy. Different people have different bacteria living on their skin, and something that isn’t bothering one person could still cause an infection in another. Also, never use your saliva to moisten makeup or brushes, as this will transfer bacteria from your mouth to your eyes.

If at any point you are diagnosed with an eye infection, you should immediately stop using eye makeup, throw away your used products and applicators, and replace them. Make sure that your infection is completely cured before using the new makeup.

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