Contact Lens Wearer Guide

New Contact Lens Wearer Guide

As with anything new, learning how to wear contact lenses can be an exciting yet frustrating endeavor. Our doctors are experienced in fitting multiple types of contact lenses and our staff is thoroughly trained to teach you how to properly insert, remove and care for your lenses. We provide hands-on training for every new contact lens wearer to ensure they are comfortable with handling their lenses, which is crucial in order to help prevent injuries or infections from contact lens wear.

The guides on this page are designed to serve as reminders of what you learn during your training experience in our office. (You should never teach yourself how to put in contacts or wear lenses that have not been prescribed to you). Although they are geared towards soft lens wearers, our team is also trained in fitting specialty lenses such as RGP’s, corneal molding lenses and scleral lenses.

We hope you find these recommendations helpful! If you are having a difficult time with inserting/removing your contact lenses, or if you have a contact lens stuck in your eye or believe you may have scratched your eye, please call us to schedule an appointment. We are available to both new and established patients in Akron, Fairlawn, Uniontown, Green, Newton Falls or surrounding communities in Northeast Ohio.

How to Put in Contact Lenses

Step by step instructions:

Before you begin, prep your area with your lenses, solution, a lint free towel, and a mirror. If you’re working over top of your bathroom sink, make sure to place a towel inside of it to help prevent losing a lens if you accidentally drop one.

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly using soap and water. (Preferably unscented, antibacterial soap. Never use hand sanitizer). Dry your hands using a lint-free towel.

  1. Open up your right contact lens pack or case. Inspect the lens to make sure that it is not inside out, ripped or torn. It should sit like a bowl on your fingertip. If the edges are flared out, the lens is inside out. If you’re unable to tell, you may also perform the “taco test” by placing the lens in the palm of your hand and adding a few drops of contact lens solution. If you can easily roll the contact into a taco shape it is the right way. If it fights you, it is inside out.

  1. Place the contact on the index fingertip on your dominant hand. Use the middle finger of your non-dominant hand to firmly grasp the upper lid of your right eye. (Make sure you have a good grip otherwise you’ll end up blinking out the contact!) Next, use the middle finger on your dominant hand to pull down the right lower lid.

  1. Tilt your chin down so you can look upwards into a mirror. Steadily move the contact toward your right eye while looking up so you can place the contact on the lower white part of your eye. Once the lens is on your eye, slide it up slightly to center it then slowly release your eyelids and blink for a few moments to allow the lens to settle. Repeat with the left eye. (You may find it easier to switch hands for the other eye).

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How to Remove Contact Lenses

Step by step instructions:

Before you begin, prep your area with your lenses, solution, a lint free towel, and a mirror. If you’re working over top of your bathroom sink, make sure to place a towel inside of it to help prevent losing a lens if you accidentally drop one.

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly using soap and water. (Preferably unscented, antibacterial soap. Never use hand sanitizer). Dry your hands using a lint-free towel.

  1. Use the middle finger of your non-dominant hand to firmly grasp the upper lid of your right eye. Next, use the middle finger on your dominant hand to pull down the lower lid. Tilt your chin down so you can look upwards into a mirror. Carefully use the index finger of your dominant hand to touch the bottom edge of the contact lens and slide it down to the lower white part of your eye.

  1. Using the thumb and index finger of your dominant hand, gently pinch the lens off of your eye. (Always use the pad of the finger, never your nails!) Once the lens is safely removed, you can release your eyelids. Repeat with the left eye.

  1. Daily replacement lenses should be disposed of after removal. Two week or monthly replacement lenses should be stored properly in a case with disinfecting solution.

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How to Care for Reusable Contact Lenses and Case

If you are prescribed daily replacement contacts, you can simply toss out your lenses after you remove them and start with a new pair the next morning. If you were prescribed reusable contacts (lenses that are replaced every two weeks or monthly), you will want to be sure you follow the steps in the guide below to keep your lenses and storage case clean in order to prevent infection.

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Contact Lens Wear Do`s and Don`ts

DO make sure you wash and dry your hands before handling your contact lenses DON`T use hand sanitizer to clean your hands before handling your contact lenses
DO follow your prescribed replacement plan for your lenses DON`T wait until your lenses feel uncomfortable before throwing them away
DO use the proper solutions to rinse and store your contacts DON`T allow tap water to come into contact with your lenses
DO remove your contacts before taking a nap or going to bed DON`T sleep in your contact lenses unless you have been properly fit into extended wear lenses
DO talk to our doctors if you are unhappy with the comfort or vision in your contacts DON`T wear contact lenses that have not been prescribed to you
DO keep your fingernails short to prevent injury. If you prefer long nails, be sure to only use the pads of your finger to handle the contacts DON`T wear your contacts if you think you may have scratched your eye or may have an infection
DO rinse out your contact lens case with solution each morning and replace your case every 3 months DON`T re-use or "top-off" the disinfecting solution in your case
DO make sure any drops that you use are approved for use with soft contact lenses DON`T use allergy drops or prescription drops while wearing your contacts. These can be used 5-10 minutes prior to inserting your lenses
DO check your contacts for damage or debris before putting them into your eyes DON`T wear a contact that is ripped, uncomfortable, or has noticeable debris or deposits
DO remember that contacts are a medical device that require appropriate fit and care to prevent infections DON`T wear cosmetic contacts or any lenses that can be purchased without a prescription. (FYI: Colored contacts can be prescribed with or without a prescription!)
DO support our family-owned business by purchasing contacts through us! DON`T forget to ask our team about available rebates and free shipping when you order!

Common Contact Lens Wear Questions

What do I do if I have a contact stuck in my eye?

First of all, don’t panic! It is impossible for a contact lens to get stuck behind your eye and with a little experience you’ll learn how to handle the occasional dislodged lens. If your contact is moved out of place, try to pull open your lids as if you were going to remove the contact normally. Look in all directions in a mirror to try to find the edge of the lens. Once you find it, look AWAY from where the contact is and gently push on your lid to move the lens out until you can safely remove it. If you are unable to find it or remove it, call our office so we can help you! In most cases, more damage is done from trying to remove a dislodged contact yourself than from leaving it in place until you can have it safely removed by a doctor.

How do I know what type of contacts I should get

Our doctors perform contact lens evaluations to help narrow down the best lens options for you by determining your prescription, the curvature of your eye, your overall ocular health (such as dryness or allergies), your lifestyle and personal goals with contact lens wear, and even your budget!

What is a contact lens evaluation and why do I need one every year?

A contact lens evaluation is an additional service performed either with or following your annual eye exam. In order to continue to wear contact lenses safely, periodic monitoring of your eye health and vision demands is required. These evaluations include special testing to confirm the best contact lens curvature, diameter, and material for you. Legally, contact lens prescriptions expire every year in Ohio, so a new evaluation is needed annually to ensure your lenses are still the healthiest fit and most accurate prescription.

How long does it take to get used to the feeling of a contact?

It typically takes a few days for your eyes to adjust to the feeling of a new contact lens. Some people may adjust faster than others, but if your lenses feel irritating or uncomfortable you should remove them and let our doctors know so they can make appropriate recommendations or changes for you!

I want to try contacts but I don’t know if I can get them in my eye. Can I try a pair first?

Every office has different policies regarding contact lens fittings. At Handel Vision Clinic, we want anyone who is interested in contacts to be able to try them, which is why we do not charge our contact lens evaluation fees until after you are successful with your training.

How old do you have to be to wear contacts?

There is no age limit for contacts. Being a good candidate for lens wear is more dependent on the patient’s attitude and level of responsibility than on age. Parents and doctors can work together to determine when a child is ready for proper lens handling and care.

I work in a dusty/dirty environment, can I still wear contacts?

Work environment may limit your available options for contact lens wear but it’s not impossible! If you tend to work in a dusty/dirty environment, the healthiest option would be a daily replacement lens that can be disposed of each night. Another option would be wearing safety glasses/goggles over your contacts in dirty environments.

I have a very high prescription, are contacts even an option for me?

Contact lens parameters are constantly improving and there are a wide variety of lenses available to help cover almost all prescriptions. If you are interested in contact lenses, ask our doctors what type of lens you might be a good candidate for!

Is my contact prescription different from my glasses prescription?

Yes! A glasses prescription is written solely for use in glasses while a contact prescription is for a specific lens brand/material, power, base curve, and diameter.

Why do I need glasses if I want to just wear contacts?

It is always recommended to have a reliable back-up pair of glasses, even if you mostly wear your contacts. Patients who have glasses are able to take more frequent breaks from contact lens wear, which helps prevent irritation and infections that can occur from over wear. Additionally, if you develop an infection or scratch your eye, you may need to be out of your contact lenses for a week or more to allow for prescription drop use and proper healing. Not having glasses to rely on during that time can make working, driving, and daily functions difficult to impossible to perform.

My friend has a similar prescription as me, can I just wear their contacts?

Even if you have a similar prescription as a friend or family member, you should never wear contact lenses that were not prescribed to you. Contact lenses are medical devices that require proper testing and evaluation to ensure the material and fit will not cause permanent damage to your eye.

What will happen if I sleep in my contacts?

There are a limited number of contacts that are approved for overnight wear and not everyone is a good candidate for these lenses. Sleeping in lenses that have not been prescribed for overnight wear can result in your cornea (the clear tissue on the front of your eye) not receiving enough oxygen, resulting in abnormal blood vessel growth, infections, painful ulcers and permanent damage. Even occasional overnight wear can cause serious issues, so be sure to always remove your contacts as prescribed!

Why does my vision seem blurry when wearing my contacts?

There are a number of factors that play into vision in contact lenses. Lens fit, material, ocular surface diseases, parameter limitations, incompatible drop or solution use, and more can all cause unsatisfactory vision in contacts. If you’re unhappy with your vision, be sure to let our doctors know at your appointment so they can help figure out the best resolution!

How do I stop the contact from always sticking to my finger rather than my eye?

If you’re trying to insert a contact and it keeps sticking to your finger, there is a good chance that there is more liquid on your finger than in your eye. A contact will naturally stick to whatever surface has more moisture, so be sure your fingertip is as dry as possible (using a lint-free towel) before trying to insert the lens.

Why do my contacts keep popping out?

Contact lenses should stay in place if fitted properly and left undisturbed (eg, not rubbing your eyes). If your lenses are popping out on their own there is likely a fit issue or ocular surface issue that needs to be addressed by our doctors.

Why do my lenses keep ripping?

Many times, ripped lenses occur from a handling issue, such as dragging the lens across the edge of the storage case, which results in microscopic tears leading to rips. Other causes of ripped lenses could be using your nails instead of the pads of your fingers to handle the lenses, ocular surface disease such as severe dry eye, poor lens fit, or even manufacturing defects.

I only throw away my lenses when they feel uncomfortable. Is that okay?

No! You should always replace your lenses as prescribed (typically either daily, every two weeks or monthly, depending on the brand). Waiting until your lenses feel uncomfortable means that either the lens surface has developed deposits or the material has begun to disintegrate, both of which can result in serious infections and permanent damage.

I only wear my contacts occasionally. How should I store them when I’m not wearing them?

Two week or monthly replacement lenses can be stored in a sealed contact lens case with disinfecting solution for up to 6 days. (You should replace the solution every week if you are not wearing the lenses). If available in your prescription, daily lenses are typically the best option for occasional wear, as you can toss them at the end of the day and start with a fresh pair each time you wear them.

How many contacts should I order at a time?

This is entirely up to you! Contact lens trials are provided free of charge with your contact lens evaluation and once your prescription has been finalized you can order either a box per eye (a box is typically a 3 month supply of daily lenses or 6 month supply of monthly lenses) or an entire year supply. Many brands offer rebates on annual supplies, so be sure to ask our staff about rebates when ordering!

I’ve heard about contacts that can be worn overnight so I don’t have to wear glasses or contacts during the day, what are those all about?

Corneal molding lenses are specially designed to be worn overnight to reshape the front surface of the eye (the cornea) in order to help slow the progression of myopia. To learn more about these, head over to our Myopia Management Center!