About contact Lenses

When cared for properly, contact lenses can provide a comfortable and convenient way to work, play, and live for the 30 million people in the U.S. who wear them. The benefits of contacts can be best enjoyed by remembering that they are medical devices that require special care and attention. Failure to wear, clean, and store lenses as directed can increase the risk of eye infections such as microbial keratitis. These infections can cause discomfort and pain, with symptoms like red eyes, blurred vision, tearing, the sensation of having something in the eye, light sensitivity, and in extreme cases, even blindness. Follow these contact lens use, cleaning, disinfection, storage, and hygiene tips for healthy eyes.

Contact Lenses in the U.S.


  • Contact lenses are medical devices and are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act4.

  • Rigid, or hard, contact lenses made from plastic were first produced in the U.S. between 1938-1940.

  • Soft contact lenses were first introduced to the U.S. in 1971.

  • Eighty percent of contact lens wearers use soft contact lenses.

Who Uses Contact Lenses


  • More than 30 million people in the U.S. wear contact lenses.

  • Two-thirds of contact lens wearers are female.

  • The average age of contact lens wearers worldwide is 31 years old.

  • Ten percent of contact lens wearers are under 18 years old, 15% are between ages 18-24, 50% are between ages 25-44, and 25% are age 45 or older.

 Benefits of Contact Lens Use


  • People can use many different methods to improve their vision, and no single method is the best solution for everyone. Contact lenses are one of several effective options.

  • Contact lenses can help people see better without affecting their appearance or interfering with many sports and activities.

  • Some children and teens report feeling dramatically better about their appearance when wearing contact lenses.

  • Compared to wearing glasses, children switching to contact lenses reported significant improvements in the areas of perceived appearance, participation in activities, and satisfaction with vision correction.

  • Specially designed contact lenses can ict lens wearers 4, 9.mprove the ability to focus and temporarily reduce poor distance vision (near-sightedness) in certain conta 

Complications & Risk Factors


  • Serious eye infections that can lead to blindness affect up to 1 out of every 500 contact lens users per year.

  • Not following proper contact lens care instructions has been linked to outbreaks of serious eye infections.

  • Between 40%-90% of contact lens wearers do not properly follow the care instructions for their contact lenses.

  • Improper cleaning and irregular replacement of contact lenses and contact lens cases—as well as other behaviors relating to contact lens hygiene and care—have been linked to a higher risk of complications.


Caring for Your Contact Lenses and Your Eyes

The type of lens you have determines how you care for it. Disposable extended-wear soft lenses need the least care, and conventional soft lenses need extensive care. To avoid vision-threatening complications, you must carefully follow directions for lens care. If you have a hard time following the cleaning steps, tell your eye care professional. You may be able to simplify the steps, or you may want to switch to disposable lenses.

  1. Before handling contact lenses, wash and rinse hands. Use a mild non-cosmetic soap. Soaps with perfumes, oils, or lotions leave a film on the hands, which you may transfer to your lenses and cause eye irritation or blurred vision.

  2. Dry hands with a clean, lint-free towel.

  3. If you use hair spray, use it before you put in your contacts. It’s also a good idea to keep your fingernails short and smooth to avoid damaging your lenses or scratching the eye.

  4. After your contacts are in your eyes, put on makeup so you don’t get any on your lenses. Take out contact lenses before you remove makeup for the same reason.

  5. Different types of contact lenses require special care and certain types of products. Always use the disinfecting solution, eye drops, and enzymatic cleaners your eye care professional recommended. Some eye products or eye drops are not safe for contact lens wearers.

  6. Never use tap water directly on lenses, and never put contact lenses in your mouth to "rinse" them. Microorganisms can live in even distilled water, causing infection or sight damage.

  7. Clean each contact by rubbing it gently with your index finger in the palm of your other hand. Most multipurpose solutions don’t have “No Rub” on their labels anymore. Lightly rubbing your contact removes surface buildup.

  8. Clean your contact lens case every time you use it with either sterile solution or hot tap water. Let it air dry. Replace the contact lens storage case every three months.




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