6 Reasons It’s Time to Switch Your Contact Lenses
With the right prescription and the correct type of lenses, contacts can deliver vision correction that is more convenient and more comfortable than eyeglasses. The caveat is that to get the best results from your lenses—and to avoid problems with eye hygiene and eye health—it is essential to replace your lenses as directed by your eye care practitioner, and sometimes even sooner. Here are six signs that it might be time to replace your lenses sooner than directed.
- Your eyes feel itchy, irritated, or painful: Don’t take any chances with your contact lenses. Your lenses shouldn’t cause you any significant pain, irritation, or itchiness. When you first start wearing contact lenses, you might have the sensation of having something in your eye, mostly because you aren’t used to wearing lenses. This is called contact lens awareness and usually lasts 7-10 days from the time you start wearing the lenses. If your lenses are causing you discomfort, however, there is likely something wrong. Dirt, dust, bacteria, and other irritants can cause lenses to feel wrong—and can damage your eye if you don’t replace the lenses with cleaner alternatives. In addition to replacing your lenses, you should schedule an appointment with an eye care practitioner to rule out any infection or injury to your eye.
- Damage to the lenses themselves: Contact lenses don’t last forever. Many are designed to be disposable in the first place, and even conventional lenses can become scratched, dented, torn, bent or otherwise damaged over time. If you notice any damage to your lenses, then it’s time to replace them. Even small nicks or dents can scratch your eye or leave openings for germs to reach the surface of the eye. If you experience any pain or discomfort, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your eye care practitioner to rule out any damage to your eye from wearing a damaged lens.
- The lenses are disposable: Many contact lenses are designed to be disposed of after a limited number of uses. The lifespan of disposable lenses can vary. Some are intended for daily use; some are weekly or monthly lenses. If your lenses are at the end of their usable life, dispose of them rather than trying to get a few more days of use out of them. If you aren’t sure how long you should be using your lenses for, consult your eye care practitioner.
- Your lenses seem clouded or obscured: Your contact lenses are supposed to provide clearer vision. If they appear clouded, they aren’t doing their job and should be replaced. A clouded lens is also often a sign that proteins or lipids might be accumulating on the lens, which can happen if you reuse contact lens solution when restoring your lenses. Always use fresh contact solution when you store your lenses at the end of the day. Avoid the practice of “topping off” half-filled cases with new solution. You may have to switch to a preservative-free, peroxide based solution if this problem persists.
You haven’t taken proper care of your lenses: Review proper lens care habits with your eye care practitioner. In addition to using fresh solution to store your contact lenses, you should also be washing your hands whenever you insert or remove your lenses, draining and drying your lens case after every individual use, and replacing your lens case at least every few months. Lastly, don’t leave your lenses in while you sleep unless you are using a type of lens that is intended for overnight wear.
- The lenses aren’t delivering effective results: If your lenses aren’t doing their job, you should discuss exploring a different lens type or a different prescription with your eye doctor. Lenses that are blurring, distorting, or otherwise impairing your vision—or even just not improving it—should be replaced by something that works for you. Everyone is different and
At Weston Contact Lens Institute, we are here to help you find the right lenses for you and establish good habits for lens care and eye hygiene. If you are wondering whether a pair of lenses should be replaced, we are more than happy to provide an answer. Contact us today to set up an appointment.