Contact lenses are a convenient and common medical device. Over the last century, we’ve finally perfected a design that gives wearers the experience of wearing glass lenses without the hassle of actual glasses.

Not everyone uses contact lenses. Some people are ill-fitted to them (for example, those with keratoconus) while others prefer the reliability and simplicity of their prescription glasses. But if you’ve decided to make the leap to wearable contact lenses, here are some handy tips to keep in mind so the whole process goes smoothly.

1.   Don’t Panic

Wearing contacts for the first time can be a bit harrowing. There is stress and pressure associated with getting the lenses in correctly and quickly. Do yourself a favor and don’t try to rush. Give yourself extra time in the mornings until you’re used to getting your contacts in quickly. Try to relax as much as possible. If you notice you’ve tensed up, walk away and try again later. There’s nothing wrong with taking a glasses day.

2.   Be patient

Getting your lenses out can be just as stressful as putting them in. Be prepared for your first experience removing your lenses to be a long one. Feel free to take a break if you’re having trouble and try to relax. A common fear is that your contact lens will get stuck or “roll back in your eye” but don’t worry. It’s impossible for your lenses to go behind your eyes and they won’t ever truly get stuck. If they feel stuck, try administering eye drops to give the lenses some lubrication.

3.   Follow hygiene rules

Remember that, unlike prescription eyeglasses, your contact lenses go directly on your eyes. If they’re dirty, then those same germs are getting directly into your eyes. Be sure to wash your hands and dry them with a clean towel whenever you handle your lenses. Your lenses should be cleaned and soaked in the proper solution overnight before reuse. Always dispose of your contacts after the recommended amount of time (contact lens cases should also be sanitized or replaced every few months).

Cleaning eyeglasses is optional; cleaning contact lenses is not.

4.   Avoid water in your eyes

If you swim or shower, you need to take your contact lenses out. Because your lenses should soak overnight (or be replaced) before you put them back in, this means that showers in the middle of the day are often an inconvenience for some people.

The reason for removing your lenses before entering water like a shower or a swimming pool is the slight but still present chance that you may contract acanthamoeba keratitis, which is a parasite that may burrow under the lens and into your eye. Keratitis is present in some tap water, which is another reason why you should never rinse or soak your lenses in regular tap water.

5.   Cut your nails short (or be extra careful)

Fingernails are notoriously germy and hard to clean. If you can’t bear to cut your nails short, then take great care to not touch your lenses with them. Your nails can easily pass infections onto your lenses which will then work their way into your eyes. You also run the risk of tearing or cutting your lenses (and placing a torn lens in your eye is a painful experience).

6.   Drink plenty of water

Contact lenses can dry out your eyes. If you already have dry eyes, they can make the condition worse. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and using eye drops if you need to. Incorporating water-heavy vegetables and fruits into your diet is another good option.

7.   Consider rewetting drops

You can buy eye drops specially designed for contact lens-wearers. These are called rewetting drops and they can save you from a bad day. If you feel your contacts getting dry or itchy, resist the urge to rub your eyes and try administering rewetting drops instead.

Try to avoid activities that dry your eyes while you wear contact lenses. Spending long periods of time staring at a computer screen is a one-way ticket to eyestrain and dry eyes. Remember to give your eyes a break, blink frequently, and consider investing in some computer glasses.

8.   Try different types of lenses

You may not take well to your first pair of contact lenses. This could be because you were poorly fitted for them, or it may just be that a different type of contact lens will suit you better. Your doctor will tell you whether you need hard or soft contact lenses, but from there, a little guesswork is involved. You may find that you need contact lenses designed specifically for dry eyes. If you’re struggling to keep your lenses sanitary, you may want to switch to single-use lenses, and so on. 

There are many options out there. Don’t be afraid to explore. Be sure you get your contact lens prescription from your eye doctor, too (it’s different from your eyeglasses prescription). With your prescription in hand, you can shop online for cheaper deals on different kinds of contact lenses from