A lot of people like to jazz up their Halloween costumes with a set of creepy, cool lenses. But, if you’ve never worn them before there’s a few things you’ll need to know.
Visit Your Optician
Contact lenses aren’t quite as simple as glasses. You need specific eye measurements (the base curve and diameter) to make sure that the lenses will fit properly. An optician will also be able to check that your eyes are healthy and that they’re suitable for wearing contact lenses as well as giving you suggestions for lenses that would be good for you.
If you plan to buy your lenses from the optician then they’ll teach you how to put them in, take them out, and take care of your new lenses.
Only Buy FDA Approved Lenses
It’s always recommended that you get your lenses from your optician. But it’s possible to get them online and even in some fancy dress shops. If you’re going to buy your own then make sure whichever lenses you get are FDA approved. FDA approval means that they’ve been tested, checked and confirmed as safe for use.
Stick to the Wear Time
There’s two types of wear time when it comes to contact lenses. First up, the daily wear time. In other words, how long you can keep them in your eyes at a time. Make sure you check this out as some coloured lenses have less wear time than regular lenses – I’ve seen some that you’re not supposed to wear for more than an hour!
The second wear time is the lifespan. If you buy monthly lenses then they last for 30 days from the day you open them not for 30 wears.
If you don’t stick to these guidelines you could end up with all kinds of not fun eye problems.
Don’t Sleep in Your Lenses
When you drag yourself home from whatever Halloween adventures you’ve been having it can be tempting to flop into bed and go straight to sleep. Don’t do it! Take your lenses out first!
Sleeping in lenses is incredibly bad for your eyes and can cause some serious eye problems.
Contact Lenses First, Makeup Second
A lot of eye problems people get from wearing contact lenses come from contamination. If you do your makeup first there’s more potential for makeup to transfer onto your lenses as you put them in. You might have makeup residue on your hands when you handle the lenses, there could already be makeup in your eye that gets trapped under the lens when you put them in, or you could accidentally knock makeup onto the lens as you put them in.
The easiest way to avoid this is to make sure your lenses are in before you start doing your makeup.
Use The Right Eye Drops
If you’re not used to wearing lenses you’ll probably find that your eyes get drier than usual. Eyedrops are a great solution, but not all of them are suitable for use with contact lenses. Make sure you check the packaging and only use eye drops that can be used with lenses.
Practice Before the Big Night
Contact lens wearers make putting lenses in and taking them out look easy. It’s not. It takes lots of practice to be able to do it. In the beginning, you’ll likely spend a lot of time trying to get those suckers in your eye, and your eyes will end up red and bloodshot from the ordeal.
Make sure you try them out beforehand so you know you can get them in and out easily. Plus, if you haven’t worn that brand of lenses before then you might want to wear them for a few hours so you can see how your eyes feel in them.
Only Wet Them With the Right Stuff
In the old days if your contact lenses got a bit dry you could take them out and lick them to remoisten them (according to my dad). Nowadays we know better. Don’t use anything that isn’t specifically designed for wetting contact lenses whether that’s eyedrops or lens solution. Tap water is a big no-no as it contains all kinds of microorganisms that can run rampant in your eyeballs and give you a nasty infection.
Likewise, when it comes to storing them, use the contact lens solution your optician recommends.
Wash your Hands
I’m sure most people are guilty of not washing their hands quite as much as they should. But with contact lenses, you absolutely need to wash your hands before handling them.
Try and use a fragrance free gentle soap and dry your hands with a towel that isn’t going to leave you covered in a layer of fluff. I like to pour a bit of the contact lens solution I use to store my lenses over my fingers before handling the lenses themselves.
Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes
Rubbing your eyes when you’re wearing contact lenses is a big no-no. It can cause the lens to flip up under your eyelid (which in most cases you will be able to get out yourself but will be a little uncomfortable). In some cases, especially if there is something in your eye, it can scratch your cornea which can lead to infection or scarring on the cornea.
If you suffer from itchy eyes, which a lot of new contact lens wearers experience, then make sure you’ve got some eyedrops to hand to soothe the itching safely.
Bring Your Storage Solution
Even if you’ve tested your lenses out beforehand, you could find that on the night they get uncomfortable much quicker down to your environment. Smoky and dusty places can irritate your eyes at the best of times, add in some lenses and you’re in for a bad time.
The best way to combat this is to bring along your lens case and solution so that if your eyes are starting to hurt you can take them out without having to throw them away.
Listen to Your Eyes
If your eyes start hurting, they go red, they’re watering excessively, they won’t stop itching, they feel like there’s something in there…any kind of problem or irritation, take out the lenses. Even if it means you have to throw them away because you didn’t bring a case to store them in. Your eyes give you warning signals when there’s something wrong so if they start acting up it’s best to listen and do what you can to help keep them healthy.
Store Them Properly
A lot of coloured contact lenses are monthly or quarterly. If you’re planning to use them more than once (and it’s safe to do so) then make sure you follow the contact lens storage instructions. Your optician should be able to guide you on how to store them and what solution to use. If not, there should be instructions supplied with your lenses.
If you’re storing them for a while then make sure you change the contact lens solution frequently otherwise it can go “bad” and ruin your lenses. If you put your lenses in when they’ve been sitting in the same solution for too long it feels like your eyeballs are on fire.
Make sure you use fresh solution every time you put them back in the case. Don’t reuse what’s in there, and don’t just top it up.
Clean Them Properly
Hygiene can be a big issue with lenses. Clean your lenses properly every time you take them out, and again before you put them in. If there was any bacteria left on them after you took them out then they’ll have been swimming in germ soup for a while so it’s worth the extra clean before you put them in.
You also need to clean your case every time you wear them in case there’s any bacteria in there. Give it a good clean, rinse it with your contact lens solution, then leave it to air dry – if you use a towel to dry it you could leave little bits of fluff in the case.
Get Medical Advice if you Need It
If you do experience some kind of adverse effects or problem while/after wearing contact lenses then go see your optician so they can check it out. It’s better to be safe than sorry!