Myths and facts – Frequently asked questions about contact lenses

Can I go swimming with my contact lenses in? What about showering?
No. Even the cleanest swimming pool can contain germs and that goes double for hot tubs, lakes, rivers, or the ocean. Even tap water can contain microbes. Germs and contact lenses are a bad combination that can result in infections, irritation, and even ulcers on your eye.

Can I use water to clean my lenses?
No. See above for the dangers of contamination when using anything other than contact lens solution on your lenses.

Will my contact lens get lost behind my eye?
No. The structure of your eye makes this impossible. Sometimes you may have trouble finding your lens if it moves under your upper eyelid, but a well-lit mirror, some blinking, and a little patience as you gently remove it can usually solve this.

What should I do if I drop my contact lens?
Always clean and disinfect your contact lens thoroughly with fresh lens solution if it has dropped on the ground or on your clothes. When removing your lenses, stand close to a sink or table so that the lens can be easily found if you drop it. Remember to first close the drain on the sink. Placing a dark-colored cloth or towel in the sink before you start can help you find a dropped lens.

How can I tell if my contact lens is inside-out?

Place the lens on your index finger.

Place the lens on your index finger. Look at it. Is it concave and curved upward, like a bowl? If so, great! If it's flared (convex) and the edges bend out toward your finger, your lens is inside-out.

What should I do if my contact lenses start to make my eyes burn or hurt?
This can sometimes be a sign that something is wrong, but it can also just be something stuck inside your lens. Remove your lens and clean and disinfect it thoroughly. If you still experience discomfort after you put the lens back in, remove it and inspect it closely. There may be a tear, or something stuck to it even after cleaning. If so, throw that lens away and try a new one. If you have eye discomfort even after following these steps or when you are not wearing contact lenses, stop wearing your lenses and see your eye care professional immediately.

Can I wear contact lenses if I wear bifocal eyeglasses?
Yes. Contact lenses are available in prescriptions called “multifocal.” They help people who need vision correction for both near and far distances.

How long can I wear my contact lenses without removing them?
Always follow the advice your eye care professional gives you about your contact lens wearing schedule. Never try to wear your contact lenses for longer than prescribed. It’s bad for the health of your eyes and the performance of the lenses.

Can I still wear makeup if I wear contact lenses?
Yes. You just have to be careful when applying both. Insert your contact lenses first so that no oils or debris from your makeup will be transferred to your lenses from your fingers. And remember—always wash your hands first!

Will contact lenses damage my eyes?
Millions of people wear contact lenses safely every day. With the right care and handling of your lenses, you should be able to wear them with little trouble. But contact lenses are medical devices and can only be prescribed and dispensed by a licensed eye care professional. Never wear contact lenses of any kind without talking to your eye care professional and getting that prescription first.

Can I sleep in my lenses?
Not all contact lenses are approved for extended or overnight wear. Please consult your eye care professional to clarify the wearing schedule they’ve prescribed for you.

Can I use eye drops?
Only plain rewetting drops; do not use regular over-the-counter, anti-redness eye drops while you are wearing contact lenses. Look for drops that say they are especially for contact lens wearers or ask your eye care professional for a recommendation.

Which contact lens solution should I use?
Look for a contact lens solution that says “multipurpose” on the label. These types of solutions both clean and disinfect your lenses.