Most people who wear glasses or contacts can remember what it was like the first time they were able to see individual blades of grass and leaves on trees after putting them on. It’s important to take good care of our lenses so that we can get the maximum benefit from wearing them!
Even with protective coatings, glasses tend to gather dust and oil as we wear them, and they require regular cleaning. As tempting as it is to reach for the corner of your shirt, it’s better to use a microfiber or cotton cloth and some glasses cleaner. You can even make your own glasses cleaner with a drop of soap in a small spray bottle filled with water.
If there’s no glasses cloth around, the edge of a cotton shirt is a passable substitute, but make sure never to use wood-based materials like napkins or tissues. Because they’re made of wood pulp, they can scratch the lenses very easily. Also avoid using chemical cleaners like ammonia or window cleaner, because they can dissolve the protective coatings on your lenses. And when you aren’t wearing your glasses, the best way to store them is in their case. Don’t fall asleep with them on, or you might damage them in your sleep!
It’s a little more complicated to take care of contact lenses. Because they sit directly on the eye, keeping them clean is as much about hygiene as it is about maintenance, if not more so. Only handle contact lenses with freshly clean hands, and only use fresh solution to clean and store them, because it takes just one use for solution to become contaminated.
Never use water on contact lenses (and definitely don’t use spit), because all sources of freshwater contain microorganisms that will treat a contact lens like a Petri dish. Follow the instructions on the packaging for how frequently to replace your lenses and how long to keep them in at a time. It might be tempting to stretch things out, but saving a little on replacement lenses comes at the cost of risking an eye infection. It’s not worth it!
A contacts-wearer should be diligent about minimizing the risk of eye infection. That means not rubbing your eyes (which could damage the lens or introduce germs into the eye), blinking often, staying hydrated, and using eyedrops when extra moisture is needed. And again, follow the instructions for how long they are safe to wear and when to replace them!
If you have questions about how best to care for your lenses, whether glasses or contacts, just let us know! We want our patients to get the most out of their glasses and contacts. Also be sure to get in touch if you’re experiencing any irritation or other symptoms from contact use. If everything is going well, still make sure to schedule regular eye exams! Not every eye problem or outdated prescription is obvious.