Getting started with contact lenses?
We want to make sure your eyes stay happy and healthy while wearing them. If you’ve got a question about your lenses, like how to put them in, take them out, or clean them – have a look through our tips and advice.
Tips for comfortable wearing
You should never compromise your comfort when wearing contact lenses, so it’s important to know the best practices to care for your lenses and prioritise comfortable wearing. Take a look at some of our top tips here:
- Wash and dry your hands before handling your lenses or touching your eye
- Stop wearing your lenses if your eyes become red or sore – contact us for advice
- Clean your lens case regularly and allow it to air dry
- Check that the prescription on the lens packaging is correct
- Check your contact lens solution instructions before use
- Insert your lenses before applying eye make-up
- Return for all the aftercare visits recommended by your optician
- Contact us if you have any concerns or queries, however trivial they may seem
- Throw away your lenses after the recommended period
- Replace your lens case regularly
- Replace the tops of solution bottles after use
- Use fresh solution to store your lenses
- Dispose of solution bottles after the recommended period
- Use tap water to store, clean or rinse your contact lenses or case
- Ignore problems or discomfort with your lenses
- Reuse the solutions of saline in your lens case
- Wear your lenses longer than advised
- Ignore problems or discomfort with your lenses
- Hesitate to contact us if you have a problem
- Handle your lenses with sharp nails as they can easily tear
- Use your lenses for swimming, hot tubs or water sports, unless wearing goggles
- Wear your lenses when showering unless you keep your eyes firmly closed
- Lick your lenses
- Sleep in your lenses (unless advised by your optician, as this can increase the risk of infection)
- Wear your lenses if you are using eye drops prescribed by your doctor
- Change your cleaning regime without contacting us for professional advice
- Place the lens on the tip of your index finger
- With your other hand, pull the top eyelid up holding as close to the lash line and centrally as possible
- With your middle finger on the hand which you’re ready to put your lens in with, pull your bottom eyelid down
- Slowly bring the lens towards the centre of your eye
- Once you feel the lenses in, close your eyes and move them from side to side - this gets rid of any air bubbles
- Place the lens on your index finger
- Hold the lower eyelid down with the hand that doesn’t have the contact lens in
- Move your finger with the lens on towards your eye but stop before it touches
- Look up and place the contact lens onto the white of the eye
- Remove your finger, still holding onto the eyelid
- Look around to remove air bubbles
- Release eyelid slowly and blink a few times
- Place the lens on the index finger
- Use one hand to hold open the top and bottom eyelid
- Looking straight ahead, slowly bring your index finger with the lens towards your eye
- Whilst your eyes are still open, remove your finger
- Slowly close your eyes
- Move them from side to side and up and down, to get rid of any air bubbles
- Blink a few times to let the lens settle
What do I do if I am unable to remove a contact lens from my eye?
Firstly make sure that the lens is still in your eye. Your eye may still feel that a lens is present if it is irritated, but it may have already fallen out. If the lens is still at the centre of your eye, with clean hands, try sliding it down towards the bottom of your eye and gently but firmly pinch it from the edges inwards.
If the lens seems stuck, then place a few drops of sterile saline solution, lubricating eye drops (specifically formulated for contact lenses) or All-in-One contact lens solution into your eye before trying to remove again.
Sometimes lenses can become stuck under your top eyelid. Looking straight ahead in the mirror, tilt your head back slightly and elevate your top lid as far as possible to determine if the lens is there try sliding it down then pinching it out. If you are still struggling see your optician as soon as possible.
What are the most comfortable contact lenses?
In general, the most comfortable contact lenses are daily disposables. When changing lenses frequently, there is less time for bacteria and debris to build up on the lens surface, and the chances of irritation, discomfort, allergies, and infection are lower.1
A new pair of contacts provides a smooth lens surface every day, making them particularly comfortable for people with dry or sensitive eyes, but many people find them more comfortable than other lens options.2
Lenses made from newer silicone hydrogel materials tend to be more comfortable too. They allow more oxygen to pass through to the cornea and take less time to adapt to, as well as being comfortable for longer.3
The main way to ensure contact lenses are as comfortable as possible is to get a proper fitting from an eye care professional, practice good lens care, ensure there is a strong aftercare routine in place with comfort eye drops, and get your eyes checked regularly.
Comfortable contact lenses for sensitive eyes
People with sensitive eyes experience symptoms such as pain, burning, irritation, watering, and blurry vision. This can make contact lens use difficult, but not impossible.
Studies show that lens age, replacement frequency, wear duration, and oxygen permeability are the most important factors when it comes to comfort with contact lens use.4 For sensitive eyes, daily disposable silicone hydrogel lenses worn for a reasonable duration every day are the most comfortable contact lenses for sensitive eyes.
Why can contact lenses cause discomfort?
Symptoms of contact lens discomfort might include stinging and itching, and gritty or burning sensations in and around the eye. Sensitivity to light, eye redness, excessive watering, eye dryness, or feeling as though there’s a foreign object in the eye are other notable symptoms. Some reasons why contact lenses can cause discomfort include:
Transferring debris onto the lenses
Those new to contacts might find the process of putting lenses in and taking them out somewhat fiddly.
It’s not uncommon to transfer tiny particles of dust, debris, or makeup onto a lens if you frequently handle your lenses, even if you practise good hygiene. If this happens, you might feel like you have something gritty in your eye.
Environmental or seasonal allergies
Pollen, dust mites, and pet fur can all cause red, itchy, and irritated eyes if you happen to have allergies. Thankfully, there are things you can do to alleviate allergy symptoms so that you can wear contact lenses comfortably.
The wrong lens fit
This is one of the most common reasons for eye discomfort among contact lens wearers. You might get lenses that fit you incorrectly if you buy them online using your glasses prescription.
Buying your contact lenses from a qualified optician will eliminate this problem: they’ll measure your eyes and make sure you get lenses with the right base curve and diameter.
Allergies to Contact Lenses
Allergies can turn even the simplest tasks into daily battles. At Specsavers, we understand how frustrating it can be when your eyes itch, water, or feel dry, making it difficult to enjoy the benefits of contact lens wear. Find out more about the signs of contact lens allergies and how to minimize the risks, below.
What are the signs of contact lens allergy?
Contact lenses are made from hypoallergenic materials so it’s rare for someone to be allergic to the lens material itself.5 Often, a build-up of deposits (bacteria, dust, chemicals, pollen) on the lens surface can irritate the eyes, mimicking symptoms of allergy.6
However, if you are struggling with symptoms like redness, itching, swelling, blurred vision, watering, discharge, pain, and sensitivity, you could be allergic to your contacts or contact lens solution.7
What should I do if I’m allergic to my contact lenses?
If you think you’re allergic to your contact lenses or cleaning solution, switch to glasses and see your optometrist as soon as possible. You may have to avoid wearing contact lenses to give your eyes a period of rest. Your optometrist may recommend a more rigorous cleaning schedule to minimise irritation.
To treat contact lens allergy, your optometrist may recommend over-the-counter or prescription allergy eye drops.7 It’s important to use these exactly as directed and to find out whether you can use the eye drops while wearing your contacts.
You might need your contacts re-fitted or changed to a different type of lens. Switching to a different brand of cleaning solution might also help. Ultimately, the treatment will depend on your situation.
If you think you may be allergic to contact lenses, book an appointment with a Specsavers optometrist as soon as possible.
Contact lenses for swimming and water sports
As a rule, contact lenses and water don’t mix. Not only can they dislodge or come out, water-borne bacteria can attach themselves to your lenses and cause infections.
If you are a regular swimmer, we’d recommend that you avoid wearing contact lenses, and instead invest in some prescription goggles.
If that’s not an option, daily disposable lenses are the safest type of contact lenses for water sports.
There’s less chance of a bacteria build-up as you can take them out, throw them away and start again with a fresh pair.
Protection is key when it comes to sailing. The windy, salty and often sunny environment can be harsh on your eyes, so consider wearing contact lenses with UV protection, to safeguard your eyes from the sun. Salty air and wind can also make your eyes dry which can make your contact lenses feel uncomfortable.
Ensure you’re fully prepared with a pair of non-prescription sunglasses, ask in store for more details.
Prescription scuba masks can be expensive, so contact lenses are a great alternative to wear under your non-prescription mask.
However, if you are just starting to learn to dive, you will need to ‘clear your mask’ which lets water in and then back out, so we would not recommend you wear contact lenses at this point.
Remember contact lenses and water do not mix well.
Which contact lenses are best for sport?
As part of your free in-store contact lens assessment your optician will ask you a variety of questions to determine the best type of contact lenses for you and the sports you enjoy.
You need to consider: the environment, length of games, body contact, and extreme eye movements. Soft lenses are likely to be the most suitable as they’re safer for contact sport as they are unlikely to be dislodged and can handle rapid eye movements.
Buy contact lenses online
If you’re confident with your contact lens choice, you can browse our range and buy contact lenses online.
Alternatively, if you’re unsure as to which contacts will suit you and your lifestyle best, find out more through our contact lens guide, or simply book an appointment with our friendly team and an optician can help you kick-start your contact lens journey today.
- Handley, N. (no date). Disposable lenses. [Online] College-optometrists.org. Available at: https://www.college-optometris... [Accessed 2 November 2019].
- Fahmy M, Long B, Giles T, Wang CH. Comfort-enhanced daily disposable contact lens reduces symptoms among weekly/monthly wear patients. Eye Contact Lens. 2010 Jul;36(4):215-9. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p... [Accessed 2 November 2019].
- Dumbleton KA, Woods CA, Jones LW, Fonn D. Comfort and adaptation to silicone hydrogel lenses for daily wear. Eye Contact Lens. 2008 Jul;34(4):215-23. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p... [Accessed 2 November 2019].
- Markoulli M, Kolanu S. Contact lens wear and dry eyes: challenges and solutions. Clin Optom (Auckl). 2017;9:41–48. Published 2017 Feb 15. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p... [Accessed 2 November 2019].
- Eye Health Web. (no date). Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses: A Consumer Guide. [Online]. Available at: https://www.eyehealthweb.com/silicone-hydrogel-contact-lenses/ [Accessed 2 November 2019].
- Hall BJ, Jones LW, Dixon B. Silicone allergies and the eye: fact or fiction? Eye Contact Lens. 2014 Jan;40(1):51-7. [Online]. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24362631 [Accessed 2 November 2019].
- Cleveland Clinic. (no date). Are You Allergic to Your Contact Lenses or Solution? [Online]. Available at: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/allergic-contact-lenses-solution/ [Accessed 2 November 2019].