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By Tina Eckhardt, M.D.

An estimated 40 million Americans wear contact lenses. There are many types of contact lenses including soft, soft toric, soft multifocal and gas permeable lenses. The wear schedule can vary from two-weeks, monthly and even daily disposable types of lenses. Depending on your lifestyle and the health of your eyes, contacts can be an effective and safe alternative to glasses when used with the proper care.

There are two parts to safe contact lens wear. The first is proper use and handling and the second is contact solutions. Here are some important tips to remember:

  • Always wash your hands before handling lenses.
  • Do not wear your lenses overnight unless recommended by your eye care professional. Overnight wear of contact lenses can greatly increase your risk of sight-threatening infections.
  • Remove your lenses immediately if your eyes become red, irritated or painful or if vision is blurred and notify your eye care professional.
  • Be careful not to get lotions, creams or sprays in your eyes or on your lenses. It is best to put your lenses in before putting on make-up and remove them prior to taking off make-up.
  • Use only the contact lens solution that is recommended by your eye care professional.
  • Remember to clean the contact lens case as well since it is a potential source of infection. It should be washed with soap and water and allowed to air dry weekly.
  • The fit and power of the contact lens should be evaluated on a regular basis by your eye care provider to maintain comfort and optimal vision.

Worn with the proper care, contact lenses are a great option for people who do not wish to wear glasses or whose life style makes spectacles wear difficult or inconvenient. Today eye doctors are able to fit most patients with contact lenses including teenagers.

BIO: Tina Eckhardt, M.D., is a board certified comprehensive ophthalmologist at Eye Surgeons Associates with special interest in contact lens fittings and dry eye. Dr. Eckhardt practices at our office in Bettendorf, Iowa. For more information, please see our website:

The material contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider.

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