The safe Usage of Contact Lenses
An Article by Dr. Mohammad Malak
Ophthalmologist @ KKES Hospital Riyadh KSA

The Development of the Contact lenses was considered as a milestone in ophthalmic care, because it has solved a lot of previously difficult to manage problems.

It was a giant step toward correcting refractive errors that are not easily managed by glasses or at least not fully corrected by only glasses usage.

All this advancement did not come without a price to pay, more & more people started to use them without knowing the impact of abuse or the proper care of the contact lens.

It is also true that older versions of Contact lenses were more toxic to the human eye and required more care and hygiene, the newly developed lenses are made of materials that are less Allergenic and toxic to the eye as well as having the advantage of requiring less care and cleansing.

There are hundreds of types of contact lenses in the market, discussing of them all is out of the scope of this brief summary, but some of the common types will be mentioned.

Generally the contact lenses are either Hard (Gas permeable) or soft, the majority of Lenses used conventionally are of the soft material, the hard lenses have specific uses and indications.

Of the soft lenses there are the

EXTENDED wear: can be worn time after time, requires meticulous cleansing procedures and should be replaced after the specific period of time.

DISPOSABLE soft Lenses: these have a specific duration for usage and expire after a specific time.

Examples of these are:

Daily wear lenses: these are used for 24 hours only and are disposed off.

Weekly wear lenses: these are similar lenses as daily wear but can b worn for one week.

Monthly wear: these lenses can be used for one month after which it should be disposed off.

Cosmetic Lenses: these lenses are becoming very popular especially among ladies, these lenses are of extended wear type and they come in various colors and shades.

It is very important to realize that if the lenses are misused, can produce a significant risk of loosing the eyesight, many people do take it very lightly and do not adhere to the recommended cleaning procedures of the lenses, or over wear them beyond the recommended safe time limit.

In addition, we face another hazard in this part of the world that is; the dry and dusty weather conditions, which can produce a lot of problems for contact lens wearers.


Following are some guidelines for safe contact lens usage:

It is mandatory to have a complete Eyre Exam before contact lenses to be used, as there are certain contraindications for the usage, which can only be recognized by a thorough

Eye Exam, this includes all kinds of contact lenses including the Cosmetic colored lenses. There are specific measurements of the Corneas (the black round part of the Eye) to be performed before a suitable lens can be prescribed.

The contact lens wearer should acquire knowledge about the advantages and disadvantages of each type of lenses and hence can decide which type suits his or her needs.

In general daily, weekly and monthly lenses require less care and are safer to use than the extended wear lenses.

The user should have full knowledge about the types of cleansing procedures and type of solutions and "tablet Protein removers" and should know how frequently should the lenses be cleaned.

It is absolutely forbidden to sleep with the contact lenses on; this poses a great risk of developing Infections and Corneal Ulcers that can be sight threatening.

It advisable to learn the exact technique for applying and removing the lens without scratching its surface, this should be done after washing and rubbing both hands with a disinfectant soap for at least five minutes before handling the lenses.

Do not wash the lenses with tap water, it can produce a corneal ulcer caused by the Parasite "Acanthamoeba" which is a normal habitant of tap water, these ulcers are very nasty infection and is very difficult to treat.

Always use the lenses under the specified or recommended times limit, do not over wear the contact lens beyond its Expiry date (every lens has a time limit which most of the time does not exceed 4-6 months).

Remember, not replacing the contact lens before the expiry date can cause severe damage to your eyesight "which is very precious".

Any abnormal feeling after putting the lenses on

(Itching, Redness or Foreign body sensation) should be taken seriously, the lenses should be carefully removed and eyes washed with clean water, if symptoms persist, an eye doctor should be consulted.

Over cleaning will only consume some extra time & effort, under cleaning could consume your eyesight.

Dusty & dry weather conditions poses an extra risk for Eye infections, so extra care is to be taken if lenses are worn in such conditions, its even advisable not to wear the lenses in dusty and windy days due to the high risk of acquiring infections.