Contact lenses are medical devices that interact directly with the ocular surface of the eye. At Chicago Cornea Consultants, we provide exceptional care to ensure that you obtain the best possible vision with contact lenses that fit appropriately and maximize health benefits.
Whether the contact lenses are medically necessary or just as an alternative form of vision correction, our optometrists use the latest contact lens technology, materials, and designs to meet your visual and ocular health needs. Our portfolio of contact lenses corrects standard refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism in addition to conditions such as keratoconus, post-surgical, or irregular corneas. Custom cosmetic contact lenses are available for patients with asymmetrical or disfigured eyes.
In addition to soft contact lenses, alternative contact lens designs available include:
- Gas Permeable
- Custom Soft
- EyePrint PRO™
Contact Lens FAQs
What is my risk of infection?
Research following outbreaks of rare but serious eye infections in the United States showed that serious infections occur most often in contact lens wearers who do not take proper care of their contact lenses and cases. (Cope JR, et al. Contact Lens Wearer Demographics and Risk Behaviors for Contact Lens-Related Eye Infections—the United States, 2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015; 64(32):865-70. Available online.)
Nearly one-third of contact lens wearers reported experiencing a contact lens-related red or painful eye that required a doctor’s visit.
How can I reduce my risk of infection?
You can significantly reduce your risk of infection by following good lens care and hygiene practices (below). Wear your contact lenses the number of hours recommended by your doctor and replace it as prescribed.
Remember that a contact lens is a foreign-body placed on your eye, and you need to take care to make sure it stays uncontaminated.
How would I know if I have an eye infection or a corneal ulcer?
Wearing contact lenses automatically puts you at a higher risk for infections and ulcers vs someone who only wears glasses.
A good rule of thumb is the RSVP rule:
- Redness — in one eye or both
- Secretions — can be torn, clear stringy mucus, yellow or green sticky mucus
- Vision changes — typically mild to moderate decrease in vision or blurring
- Pain — may be aching, sharp, dull, light-sensitive or just uncomfortable
If you have any of these symptoms, remove your contact lenses immediately. For this reason, it is important to always have an up-to-date pair of backup glasses.
Do not attempt to treat a red eye yourself; go to your eye doctor as soon as possible. Non-preserved artificial tears may be used, however, avoid Visine and other “get the red out” drops, and never use someone else’s eye medications.
What are good lens care and hygiene practices for me to follow?
Hygiene is vitally important in preventing infection. Some of these methods vary with the type of lens you are using. Follow the instructions of your eye care provider.
- Always wash and rinse your hands thoroughly before handling your lenses. Studies have shown that simple measures such as hand-washing prior to touching contact lenses will significantly reduce the likelihood of getting an infection.
- Keep all water away from contact lenses. Avoid showering while wearing contact lenses and remove them before using a hot tub or swimming.
- Don’t soak or rinse your lenses in tap water.
- Use a fresh lens-disinfecting solution.
- Don’t place a lens in your mouth for cleaning or wetting.
- Discard used solution from the contact lens case and clean it with fresh solution — never water — every day.
- Clean your lenses on a regular basis as indicated by your eye care practitioner.
- Keep your solutions closed and sealed in between use so they don’t get contaminated.
- Discard all solutions 1-2 months after opening, even if there is still a solution remaining.
- Clean and rinse your contact lens case with contact lens solution – NEVER water – and then empty and dry with a clean tissue. Store upside down with the caps off after each use.
- Replace your lens case at least every three months and we recommend replacing it every month (a new lens case often comes with every new bottle of solution).
The rationale and publications used to support these recommendations can be found in CDC’s Healthy Contact Lens Wear and Care webpage, “Show Me the Science.” (https://www.cdc.gov/contactlenses/show-me-the-science.html)
When do I use rewetting drops?
A dry eye becomes uncomfortable. The lens may feel gummy or sticky and your vision will become blurry or hazy. Ideally, with contact lens wear you should blink approximately every 6 to 8 seconds. This, however, is difficult to do when you are concentrating on your digital device (i.e. cell phone, computer, or tablet), a book, or a video game.
You may use rewetting drops as often as you need to. The trick to using your rewetting drops is to use them before your eyes become too dry. Once your lens is dry, it attracts deposits and gets dirty. Then most drops won’t help. You will need to remove the lens, rub it with your solution to clean, then re-insert the lens.
Can I sleep in my lenses?
Only contact lenses prescribed to be worn in such a manner should be worn overnight. Sleeping in contact lenses continues to be a major risk factor for corneal infection, even for high oxygen permeable materials. Patients considering the convenience of extended wear lenses should realize that they increase their chances of getting a corneal infection by 4 – 7 times if they sleep in their contact lenses. If you have extended wear lenses, lower your risk by maintaining good hygiene and follow your eye care practitioner’s advice as to lens wear and replacement schedules. In particular, don’t sleep in your lenses if there is any discomfort.
Can I swim in my lenses?
Swimming in contact lenses increases the risk of infection and is not recommended. Wearing seal tight, good fitting goggles can limit exposure to water and decrease the risk of infection. If you have gone swimming without goggles, make sure you remove and thoroughly clean and disinfect your lenses at the first opportunity before re-inserting them. Do not sleep in lenses if you have been swimming.
Why can’t I use my glasses prescription to get contact lenses?
Contact lenses are classified by the FDA as a medical device and therefore are regulated differently than glasses and require separate evaluation and prescription.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Show Me the Science: Data Behind Contact Lens Care and Recommendations. https://www.cdc.gov/contactlenses/show-me-the-science.html
Chang DC, Grant GB, O’Donnell K, Wannemuehler KA, Noble-Wang J, Rao CY, Jacobson LM, Crowell CS, Sneed RS, Lewis FM, Schaffzin JK, Kainer MA, Genese CA, Alfonso EC, Jones DB, Srinivasan A, Fridkin SK, Park BJ. Multistate outbreak of Fusarium keratitis associated with the use of a contact lens solution. JAMA. 2006;296(8):953-963.
Ross J, Roy SL, Mathers WD, Ritterband DC, Yoder JS, Ayers T, Shah RD, Samper ME, Shih CY, Schmitz A, Brown AC. Clinical characteristics of Acanthamoeba keratitis infections in 28 states, 2008 to 2011. Cornea. 2014;33(2):161-168. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24322804
Sokol JL, Mier MG, Bloom S, Asbell PA. A study of patient compliance in a contact lens wearing population. CLAO J. 1990;16(3):209-213. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2379308
Verani JR, Lorick SA, Yoder JS, Beach MJ, Braden CR, Roberts JM, Conover CS, Chen S, McConnell KA, Chang DC, Park BJ, Jones DB, Visvesvara GS, Roy SL. National outbreak of Acanthamoeba keratitis associated with the use of a contact lens solution, United States. Emerg Infect Dis. 2009;15(8):1236-1242. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2815976/