5 Tips for Wearing and Caring for Your Scleral Lenses
Proper care is key when it comes to scleral contact lenses. Learn five must-know tips for wearing and caring for yours.
Scleral contact lenses are nothing short of a revolution in eye care. These life-changing lenses can treat various conditions, including many that don’t respond to any other existing treatments. When used correctly, they are also some of the safest lenses available. However, “when used correctly” is the key phrase. If you neglect to follow proper care instructions with your dry eye scleral lenses, you could be exposing yourself to some pretty serious risks, including eye infection and damage to your vision. With that in mind, here are five critical tips for taking care of your scleral lenses to protect both your lenses and your eyes.
Clean and replace your storage case
Contact lens wearers make one of the most common mistakes when using the same storage case night after night, month after month, without ever truly cleaning it. Instead, they “top off” the solution that’s already in it. If you’re guilty of this, stop today. It’s too easy for a storage case to become contaminated with micro-organisms that can harm your eyes. For best results, clean your storage case every day and replace it with a new one every month.
Remove your lenses when you’re supposed to
In general, most people who use scleral lenses can wear them about 12 – 14 hours a day comfortably. However, you may need to remove them sooner if they feel uncomfortable or become fogged. Some people need to remove their scleral lenses once or twice during the day to clean and re-apply them. When you’re done wearing them for the day, try to remove them about an hour before you go to bed. Whatever you do, though, never sleep in contact lenses, not even scleral lenses. People who leave their lenses in overnight have a higher risk of irritation and infection.
Use the correct filling solution
The best way to help your eyes stay healthy is to use a preservative-free saline solution to fill the bowl of the lens. The preservatives found in some saline solutions and eye drops can have a toxic effect on your eyes and harm your lenses as well. Never use over-the-counter eye drops without discussing it with your eye doctor first to ensure that the ones you use won’t be harmful. On a related (but no less important) note: Never use tap water for cleaning, filling, or storing your lenses. Tap water contains potentially harmful microorganisms that won’t hurt your digestive system, but can negatively affect your eyes.
Rub your lenses after removing them
Anytime you remove your scleral lenses, it’s a good idea to rub them gently to remove any debris from the surface. Think about putting dishes into the dishwasher after a meal – you wouldn’t put a plate still covered with food in; instead, you would rinse it off first because you know it will get much cleaner in the dishwasher that way. So it is with your scleral lenses. Read the instructions on your cleaning solution. Depending on the type of solution you’re using, you’ll need to rub your lenses for anywhere from two to 20 seconds each time you remove them.
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Follow your eye doctor’s instructions to the letter
The most important thing that you can do to protect your lenses and your eyes is to follow the instructions of your eye care practitioner precisely. They will know more about eye care than anyone else – and more about your specific condition and needs. They know how different solutions interact, how long you should leave your lenses in each day, what kind of solutions you should use, and so on. If you are receiving the top-quality eye care you deserve, you won’t have to worry about hearing poor advice from your provider. If you do have questions, be sure to ask, and then take the advice you receive to heart.