Soft Disposable Contact Lenses
Your Complete Guide to Soft Disposable Contact Lenses
What are soft disposable contact lenses?
Soft disposable contact lenses are made of soft, flexible plastics that allow oxygen to pass through to the cornea. Soft contact lenses may be easier to adjust to and are more comfortable than hard, rigid gas permeable lenses. Newer soft lens materials include silicone-hydrogels to provide more oxygen to your eye while you wear your lenses.
Are they comfortable to wear?
It is common to feel some slight irritation when wearing contact lenses for the first time. The eye gradually adjusts to this discomfort by decreasing its sensitivity over the course of around ten days. Because of this, it is best to gradually increase the time spent wearing contact lenses. Start with four hours per day and increase this by one hour per day. It is also sensible to aim for a day off after the first five days while you are acclimatising to contact lens use.
There are usually two causes for uncomfortable lenses when you first put them in:
1. An inside-out lens – remove the lens and turn it the right way around.
2. Residual debris on the lens – remove the lens and clean thoroughly before putting it back in.
If these two steps do not fix the irritation, remove your contact lenses and make an appointment to see your optometrist.
How do they correct vision?
A soft lens can correct short sightedness (myopia), far sightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism where both near and far vision can be blurred. Because the lens rests right on your eye, they tend to provide much better side vision and clearer vision overall. Also if there is a difference in prescription between your eyes, that effect is minimised in contact lenses.
How long will soft disposable contact lenses last?
Disposable contact lenses are available in daily, two-weekly and monthly designs, and are to be replaced at these intervals.
Overwear of contact lenses can lead to irritation, infection or intolerance, whereas brand new contacts give your eyes a feeling of refreshment – just like putting on clean clothes. Replace your contact lenses as recommended by your optometrist to reduce the risk of discomfort.
Daily wear time for soft disposable contact lenses:
Many people find they are most comfortable if they limit lens use to 8-10 hours per day. The maximum lens wearing time varies between people, but it may be possible to wear a lens for 12-14 hours per day.
How do I insert my lenses?
1. Wash hands and dry them with a towel.
2. Place the contact lens on the tip of your index finger (which should be no wetter than your eye or the contact lens) and tuck your other fingers out of the way.
3. Look down, then gently pull your top eyelid upwards with the middle finger and ring finger of your free hand, be sure to grab right at the edge of the lid.
4. Look up, then gently pull down your bottom eyelid with your middle finger.
5. Whilst still looking up, place the contact lens on the lower white part of the eye. If you find this difficult, you can look straight ahead and place the contact lens on the iris (coloured part of your eye), with the bottom edge of the contact lens touching first.
6. Look downwards, then release your eyelids.
7. Gently massage the contact lens into place through the lids or blink a few times.
8. Once your lenses are in place, rinse their case with multi-purpose solution and leave it to air dry. You should replace the case every three months.
How do I remove my lenses?
1. Wash hands and dry them with a towel.
2. Look down, and pull your upper eyelid upwards as before. Then look up, and pull your bottom eyelid down with your middle finger.
3. Gently drag the contact lens off the iris with your index finger, and without removing your finger, pinch the contact lens off the eye with your thumb and index finger. Alternatively, you can look straight ahead into a mirror, and pinch the bottom edge of the contact lens directly off your lower iris. Be careful not to squeeze too hard.
4. Clean and store the first contact lens before removing the second.
How to take care of your lenses – General tips for successful contact lens wear
Always wash your hands before handling your contact lenses or eyes
Wash with soap and running water, remembering to rinse your hands thoroughly. Dry your hands with a towel. Ensure your nails are clean and not too long. Use non-cosmetic soap as soaps with lotions or oils in them can transfer to the contact lens and cause irritation on lens application along with blurred vision.
Look for nicks along the lens edges, torn lenses or visible breaks. Damaged lenses can damage the eyes, so discard the lenses and use new ones.
How to clean your soft disposable contact lenses
ALWAYS use the prescribed cleaning solution, which serves as a cleanser and disinfectant. It also increases the comfort of your contact lenses.
NEVER use saliva, saline or water of any type. Tap, distilled and bottled water (and particularly saliva) contain bacteria and viruses, which may be absorbed by the contact lens and cause eye infections. Sterile saline is NOT a disinfectant nor are contact lens rewetting drops.
It is important to clean your soft contact lenses daily to maintain the highest standards of comfort and visual clarity. Each day after you remove your lenses, you must clean them prior to overnight storage.
1. For rinsing your lenses, use Opti-free puremoist or BioTrue.
2. Place the lens bowl-side up in the palm of your hand and apply a few drops of Opti-free or BioTrue. With the pad of your finger gently rub the entire lens in a circular motion against the palm of your hand. Be sure to thoroughly clean the entire lens and then rinse it well with the same solution.
3. Use only the contact lens case provided to store your contacts. Fill the cases with Opti-Free or BioTrue liquid. Be sure to place the left and right contact lens into the correct holder. Always use fresh solution when storing your lenses. Never “top up” or use old solution. NEVER re-use old solution.
4. Do NOT allow the tip of the solution bottle to come into contact with any surface and keep the solution bottle tightly closed when not in use.
Expiry date of solution
Always check the expiry date of the solution. When you open a new bottle, write the date you need to discard it (generally 3 months after opening) on the container in a felt tip pen. Do not use out-of-date solution.
Contact lens cases
Bacteria can accumulate in contact lens cases. After putting in your contact lenses, the case should always be emptied and air-dried. A new contact lens cases is included with every purchase of contact lens cleaning solution.
Always throw away the old case and use the new one. The case should only be filled halfway with solution (if over-filled, the lens may ride up and be damaged by the lid).
Never wear your soft disposable contact lenses for longer than they are designed for
The use of the contact lenses past these dates is NOT recommended, as the lenses are not structurally or functionally designed to last any longer. The material often breaks down after this date, causing irritation and poor vision. Make it easier to remember by changing your lenses on the same day each month or fortnight. If you only wear lenses occasionally, it is best to use daily disposable contact lenses.
Do not sleep in your contact lenses
Very few contact lenses are designed to be worn during sleep (and those which are will have been specially prescribed). Wearing contact lenses during sleep is associated with an increased risk of infection.
There is also a risk that the lens may get stuck on the eye after waking. Do not attempt to move the contact if it is stuck. If you wait for about an hour after waking, your normal tear flow will help to lift the lens very slowly from its resting position. It can also help to rinse your eyes with lubricant drops or your contact lens solution, as this will help to lift the lens.
The safest option for waters sports is to wear daily disposable contact lenses and goggles. Water contains germs, which may be absorbed by the contact lens. Wearing your contact lenses after these activities would be the same as wearing your wet swimsuit for the next fortnight or month. In the event you get water splashed in your eyes, make sure to remove your lenses and clean them thoroughly.
Contact lens use when in hospital or unwell
Avoid wearing contact lenses in hospital or while unwell. Hospitals are often sources of infection. When you are sick (even just with a cold or flu) you risk spreading infection to your eye via contact lenses. You may also find it more difficult to manage your contact lenses safely while you are recuperating.
Avoid wearing contact lenses on a plane
The humidity in aircraft cabins is very low. If you wear your contact lenses they will become very dry and uncomfortable and you will arrive at your destination with sore eyes. Please wear your spectacles for flying.
Use a smaller size bottle of solution, do NOT transfer solutions into small containers.
What are the normal adaptation symptoms I can expect when wearing soft disposable contact lenses?
While you are first getting used to your lenses you may notice some or all of the following:
- Variable vision due to increased tear production
- Stinging, itching and abnormal blinking
- Lens edge awareness particularly felt with your eyelids
- Increased glare sensitivity – wear sunglasses
- Initial discomfort with lots of close work/computer work – use more lubricant eye drops
- Dryness in air-conditioning and smoky areas – use more lubricants and try cleaning your lenses mid way through the day
- You may also notice a slight blur to your vision when you wear spectacles straight after removing your contact lenses. This should clear within 30 minutes.
What is abnormal?
Persistent redness, discomfort, pain, blurred vision or if bright lights hurt your eyes. If these occur, stop all lens wear and make an appointment to see us. “If in doubt take your lenses out.”
Can I swim in my contact lenses?
If you want to swim in your lenses then you must make sure to use goggles and then disinfect the lens thoroughly afterwards. It is not recommended to swim in fresh water even if it’s flowing freely due to the risk of infection from Acanthamoeba, which can cause severe loss of vision.
All soft contact lenses absorb water within the lens. When you swim in fresh water or use tap water with your contact lenses it is able to get into the contact lens and replace the sterile water that is there. This means that Acanthamoeba could be living in your contact lens multiplying ready to cause an eye infection.
One of my contact lenses is suddenly uncomfortable, what should I do?
The first thing to do is to take the lens out. Does that fix the problem? If so, it is probably due to the lens rather than your eye itself. Now clean the lens thoroughly and put it back in. If that fixes the problem then there might have been something on the lens. If not then remove the lens again.
Now you need to carefully examine the edge of the lens in bright light. You might notice a small tear or nick out of the edge of the lens. The lens would need to be replaced so please contact us.
In the above scenario, if you remove the lens but your eye is still hurting. it is likely that there is something wrong with your eye. That means it would be best to come and see us straight away to have it checked.
Can the lens get lost behind my eye?
People often worry about losing a contact lens behind their eye. This is impossible. The conjunctiva (the covering of the eye) folds back to cover the eyelids and prevents foreign material entering the eye. However, there are a number of explanations for a “lost” lens:
- The lens is caught under the upper lid – look downwards and towards your nose and massage your upper lid to dislodge the contact lens.
- The lens is actually still in place – you can check for this by covering your other eye; if your vision is still good, the lens is still in place.
- You have removed the lens, but it has fallen on the floor or on your clothing – repeated attempts to remove the lens will just cause irritation to your eye.
Aftercare schedule for your lenses
We normally like to see you about 1- 4 weeks after picking up your lenses and then again at 3 months, 6 months and at least every 12 months thereafter. This is so we can review the health of your eyes and suggest any improvements in your contact lens prescription, lens design or material.
Your contact lens prescription is only valid for 12 months so we need to see you to renew it. Always wear your lenses to your contact lens appointments, having had them in for at least 2 hours. Please bring your contact lens case and spectacles with you.
If a lens is damaged when the patient opens the blister, then we can order a spare one for free. No warranty if they lose a contact lens.
We can give a 100% refund on soft contact lenses if the box is undamaged and unopened. We do not give refunds for opened/ used contacts. Please note we do not give refunds on fitting fees. Please see our office policy or speak to your optometrist for further details
Book an eye test with us
Thinking about transitioning from glasses to contact lenses? Or just want to find out if soft disposable contact lenses are right for you? Book an appointment with us today!