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How do I get contact lenses?
Contact lenses are prescribed by an eye care professional. This includes either an ophthalmologist (an M.D.), an optometrist (an O.D.), or a dispensing optician with special training in contact lens prescribing. Often, these professionals work together under one roof. Before prescribing contact lenses for you, your eye care professional will conduct a thorough examination. This exam will evaluate your eye health and assess your vision correction needs — and then determine a host of factors: the type of lens, size and lens material, and the wear and replacement schedules that are best for you.

Where do I get contact lenses?
Your eye care professional will supply you with your first pair of lenses (often a trial pair) and then replacement lenses. If you prefer it, your eye care professional can hand you your prescription, and you can seek replacement lenses from retail or consumer-direct sources. It’s important to know that your contact lens prescription differs from your eyeglasses prescription. Refractive powers may differ, and there is other information indicating the material, size and curvature of the contact lens that is right for you.

Wherever you obtain contact lenses, it’s vital that you follow the recommendation of your eye care professional when it comes to lens care and wearing and replacement schedules.

How long do I wear contact lenses?
When you are prescribed contact lenses, your eye care professional will indicate two schedules — one for how long you wear your lenses before removing them (wearing schedule), and another for how frequently you replace them (replacement schedule).

Wearing schedules:

  • Daily wear contact lenses are removed each night.
  • Extended wear contact lenses are worn for up to a week before removal.
  • Continuous wear contact lenses are worn for up to 30 days before removal

Replacement schedules:

  • Daily disposables are replaced each day.
  • Daily wear, extended wear and continuous wear lenses are replaced once a week, every two weeks or every month, as indicated by your eye care professional.

How do I care for contact lenses?
Your eye care professional and their staff will advise you how best to care for your lenses. Soft contact lenses require cleaning, rinsing and disinfecting with every removal. Today’s multipurpose solutions achieve all of those steps with one solution. Some multipurpose solutions are “no rub” solutions; soaking lenses in the solution cleans and disinfects at the same time. Other solutions require manually rubbing and rinsing to clean the lenses. In addition, comfort drops can increase eye comfort while lenses are being worn.

Is care different for oxygen permeable contact lenses?
Oxygen permeable contact lenses also require cleaning, rinsing and disinfecting with every removal. These lenses require different care solutions from soft lenses, and conditioning solutions can be used to enhance comfort.

Why is lens care so important?
Good lens care compliance is vital! Your eyes, as well as your contact lenses and case, can be hospitable environments for bacteria and fungus to thrive in. For this reason, you must be a responsible contact lens wearer and develop good and safe care habits — and never stray from the procedures that your eye care professional and their trained staff demonstrate for you. Never take shortcuts — always be compliant!

How do I learn how to insert, remove and care for my contact lenses?
Your eye care professional and their staff will supply you with thorough instructions in wear and care so that you will be confident when you leave their office with your new contact lenses. As part of your comprehensive eye exam and fitting, you will receive a demonstration of lens insertion and removal and complete lens care. You also will likely receive a starter kit that includes a lens case and all the solutions and instructions you will need. A follow-up office visit — just to be sure that you are doing well — is advisable.

Can I use makeup with contact lenses?
Yes, you may use makeup like eyeliner and eye shadow with contact lenses — provided you are careful not to get the cosmetics in your eye, under your eyelids or on your contact lenses. It’s a good idea to insert your contact lenses before you put on makeup so that your fingers don’t transfer oils and fats from cosmetics to the lens surface. Cosmetics often harbor bacteria, which can then be introduced into the contact lens and eye. Remember: Never share makeup and never swap contact lenses!

What if my eyes become red or irritated?
Any eye redness or irritation should be taken seriously — and should be checked out by your eye care professional. The first step is to remove your contact lenses and clean, rinse and disinfect them. Put them in their case and put on eyeglasses. Every contact lens wearer should keep a backup pair of eyeglasses so you’re not “pushing” your wear time when your eyes hurt. Again, see your eye care professional: They can readily address an infection or irritation.

© 2007 Contact Lens Council
 » Enjoy the freedom of contact lenses  
 » Contact lenses at a glance
 » For all ages
 » For virtually all vision needs
 » Easy to care for
 » How contact lenses work
 » Types of contact lenses
 » Designs for special vision conditions  
 » Designs for eye color
 » How contact lenses are made
 » History of contact lenses
 » How do I get contact lenses?
 » Where do I get contact lenses?
 » How do I care for contact lenses?
 » How do learn lens care?
 » Can I use makeup with contact lenses?
 » What if my eyes become red or irritated?  
 » Contact lenses are for all ages
 » From tweens to seniors
 » When are contact lenses right for you?
          • How young is too young?
          • Am I a responsible young person?
          • Are there measures of responsibility?
          • Why is proper care so vital?
          • Why wear contact lenses while young?
          • What is the expense of contact lens wear?
          • What are the risks of contact lens wear?
          • Can contact lenses improve sight?
          • What if there's no need for vision correction?  
 » Knowing and doing the right steps
 » 6 easy steps to ensure eye health
 » Why proper lens care is so important
 » Learn the proper steps from the start
 » Multipurpose solutions make lens care simple
 » To rub or not to rub?
 » Follow your recommended schedules
 » Keep your solutions pure
 » Eyes red or irritated?
 » Eye makeup and contact lenses
 » Avoid extending contact lens life
 » Silicone Hydrogel Lenses Gaining Acceptance
 » Silicone Hydrogel Lenses Instead of Laser Vision Correction?  
 » Custom Contact Lenses Redefine Optimal Eyesight
 » Contact Lenses Help Aging Eyes
 » Contact Lens Solutions Simplify Compliance
 » Comfort Drops May Offer Relief and Clearer Vision
 » Options Expanding in Daily Disposables
 » Blocking Out Harmful UV Rays