Instructions for Handling Contact Lenses


Soft Lens Instructions

  1. Wash Hands
  2. Inspect Lens
  3. Insert Lens
  4. Wash Hands
  5. Remove Lens
  6. Clean Lens
  7. Rinse with Saline
  8. Disinfect Lens

Gas Permeable Lens Instructions

  1. Wash Hands
  2. Inspect Lens
  3. Apply Wetting Solution
  4. Insert Lens
  5. Wash Hands
  6. Remove Lens
  7. Clean Lens
  8. Rinse with Saline
  9. Disinfect in Soaking Solution

Enzyme Instructions

  1. Clean Lens
  2. Rinse with Saline

Instructions for Handling Contact LensesWash your hands before handling your lenses. Do not use any soap containing cream, lotion, oil, or perfume.

No Yes
Softsoap Neutrogena
Ivory Liquid Ivory Bar
Caress Opti-Soap
Dove Clear dishwashing detergent (Joy)
Gentle Touch Dial and Dial pump
Any deodorant soap  

Keeps nails short, filed and clean.

Rigid Contact Lens Instructions

It is important that you clean your lenses immediately upon removal rather than just prior to inserting the lens. After removing your lens, use a daily cleaner on the surface of the lens. Rub the lens in the palm of your hand and rinse thoroughly with saline. The lens should then be stored in soaking solution and left overnight. To insert, simply rinse the solution off with fresh saline and apply wetting solution prior to insertion.

Use enzymatic cleaner once a week. If enzyming is not done every week, deposits may form on the lenses that cannot be removed. Always clean lenses before enzyming. Dissolve one tablet in saline per lens in each vial. While the cleaner is still actively "fizzing," soak your lenses in the solution. They should be left in this solution for two to twelve hours. After the enzyme soak, clean the lenses with your daily cleaner, rinse with saline, and store in your soaking solution for at least four hours to disinfect them. They will then be ready for you to wear again. Rinse the enzyme cups with saline and let them air dry. Lenses not worn for one week or longer should be stored dry, then cleaned and disinfected before wearing.

These lenses are custom designed and fitted for your eyes. Exceptional care is taken in their fabrication. They are extremely thin to provide maximum comfort; however, this factor makes the lenses more fragile than thicker lenses. Do not hold the lens by its edges and do not put too much pressure on the lens. Flexing the lens between the fingers can cause permanent warpage or break the lens.

Do not panic if you encounter difficulty removing your lenses. A drop of rewetting solution in the eye will generally float the lens sufficiently to make removal easier. A lens on the white of the eye can stay there for long periods and does not irritate the eye. Stay calm when removing your lenses. If you feel upset by the inability to remove the lens, stop trying to remove it and return to it when calmer.

Rigid Lens Wearing Time Schedule

Wear Time (Hours)

(Maximum wearing time will be determined at your follow-up appointment.)

***When you haven't worn your lenses for a few days, cut your wearing time in half for the first day and increase wearing time two hours per day after that. When you haven't worn your lenses one week or longer, start wearing time over. ***Remember to clean and disinfect your lenses if they are stored more than 48 hours. DO NOT RUSH YOUR WEARING TIME!

 Soft Contact Lens Instructions

Never let soft contact lenses become dry. Never soak them in tap or distilled water. If lenses dry out, they will become brittle. Should this occur, however, soak the lenses in saline for two to three hours. Then, if the lenses do not appear damaged, continue with your disinfecting regimen. If the lenses are uncomfortable after you insert them, remove them immediately and call us.

You will be given solutions and instructions to care for your lenses. Always clean the lenses first and then disinfect them. To clean, put a small amount of solution in the palm of the hand and rub the lenses to remove any loose debris on the surface. After rubbing the lenses, rinse thoroughly with saline and continue with the disinfecting segment of the care system. Store the lenses in the disinfecting solution until you are ready to reinsert them. Take them directly from the storage solution and insert them in the eyes. A lens should never be inserted that has not been disinfected by the system provided.

The enzymatic cleaner we have given you should be used once a week unless otherwise instructed.

Soft Contact Lens Schedule

Wear Time (Hours)

(Maximum wearing time will be determined at your follow-up appointment.)

Remember to clean and disinfect your lenses if they are stored more than 48 hours. DO NOT RUSH YOUR WEARING TIME!

Possible Contact Lens Complications

Wearing contact lenses is a reasonable method of attaining good vision as an alternative to glasses. However, wearing contact lenses is not without risk. The following conditions are possible complications of contact lenses. You must be aware of the potential hazards and accept these relative risks in addition to the benefits of contact lenses.

  1. Contact Lens Overwear. This occurs when the contact is worn longer than the cornea can tolerate. Not enough oxygen gets to the cornea resulting in temporary discomfort and blurred vision. The treatment is to discontinue wearing the contact lenses for a few days.
  2. Corneal Abrasion. This is a "scratch" on the surface of the cornea resulting from a poorly-fitting contact lens, foreign material under the contact lens or overwear. The treatments include antibiotics and possible patching of the eye. Infection may result from this condition.
  3. Allergic Reaction. In this condition the eye becomes red and irritated in response to the cleaning and/or storage solutions. It is most often seen with soft contact lenses and is usually a reaction to the preservatives in these solutions. Treatment includes changing to different solutions and storage methods as directed by your doctor.
  4. Tight Lens Condition. This is mot often seen with soft and extended wear contact lenses. The lens, which previously had fit well, "tightens up" and does not allow teas and oxygen to the cornea. This results in pain, redness, and swelling of the cornea and can lead to a corneal abrasion. The treatment is to refit the lens.
  5. Corneal Warpage. This is most often seen with hard and gas permeable contact lenses. In this condition, the shape of the cornea becomes altered in response to the contact lenses. If severe warpage occurs, the lenses may no longer fit well and discomfort results. The treatment is to discontinue wearing the contact lenses until the warpage resolves, which may take weeks to months. During this healing time, the vision may fluctuate, requiring a change in the glasses prescription one or more times. Occasionally, the warpage may not resolve and the astigmatism created may persist.
  6. Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC). In this condition, there is itching, lens intolerance, and redness while wearing the contact lenses. It is more often seen with soft lenses and is generally caused by a buildup of protein on the surface of the lens. Treatments include discontinuing lens wear for a period of time, switching lens types, and switching solutions.
  7. Corneal Ulcer. This is the most severe complication of contact lenses and is more often seen with extended wear soft lenses. In this condition, trauma or contamination to the cornea from the contact lens results in an infection. This sometimes requires hospitalization for treatment and can lead to extensive corneal scarring. Corneal transplant surgery may be required to regain good vision. Although very rare, it is possible that a patient could lose an eye from a severe corneal ulcer.

It is not possible to determine in advance whether you will become a successful contact lens wearer or not. Personal, physiological and environmental factors may require changes in the wearing schedule or termination of lens wear. Please keep your glasses prescription up-to-date in case you are unable to wear your lenses.

Adhering to the lens care system recommended is important. The risk of complications increases when you do not adhere to the lens care system prescribed for you. Switching or mixing products could cause irritation and/or permanently discolor your lenses.

A lens should be brought back to your eye doctor for evaluation if:

  1. It accumulates deposits, is no longer comfortable, or becomes discolored and cannot be restored to its original condition using the methods in this pamphlet.
  2. It becomes scratched, chipped, or cracked.

If you experience redness, secretion, visual blurring, or pain (RSVP), remove your contact lenses at once. If the symptom subsides, the lenses can be cleaned and reinserted. If the lenses are removed and the symptom does not subside or reappears upon reinsertion, remove the lenses immediately and call us!

Contact lenses require proper care and handling. They must pass many rigid tests to insure proper power, shape, and durability. Contacts do not develop tears, nicks, or scratches by themselves. They are only caused through mishandling of the lenses by the patient. How well you care and handle them will determine how long they last. You must follow all instructions in caring for and handling your lenses. Failure to do so could damage your lenses. The average patient will replace at least one lens per year. Lost, damaged, or contaminated lenses will not be replaced free of charge.

Contact lens fitting requires a number of follow-up visits (two to three visits in the first three months). These visits are very important to ensure the proper fit of the lens and the health of the eye. Please keep all appointments made for you.

Contact lens appointments are recommended every six months and are mandatory yearly for prescription refill.

A contact lens prescription does not exist until the doctor deems your lens fit acceptable after several checks during follow-up care. After you have been released from initial follow-up care, you may request a copy of your contact lens prescription.

Your cooperation is vital to your success in wearing contact lenses.

DO clean rigid gas permeable lenses in the palm of your hand instead of between your fingers. Clean from center to edge rather than

in a circular motion.

DO's and DO NOT's


  • DO keep soft lenses moist to prevent tearing.
  • DO add a rewetting drop before removing contact lenses.
  • DO wet lenses with saline before picking them up from a dry surface or cleaning them to prevent tearing or warpage.
  • DO buy a case with ridges in the bowl and the lid to prevent suction of the lens to the case.
  • DO apply cosmetics sparingly.
  • DO purchase hypoallergenic, nonflake cosmetics. Some cosmetics are made specially for use with contact lenses.
  • DO discard eye makeup three months after opening. The exception is pencil eyeliner that is sharpened to a fresh supply.
  • DO insert lenses BEFORE applying cosmetics.
  • DO remove lenses BEFORE removing cosmetics.
  • DO remove cosmetics daily with an oil free, hypoallergenic remover.
  • DO follow your eye doctor's instructions for lens care and use only the solutions recommended by your eye doctor.
  • DO keep your contact lens case clean. Scrub lens case weekly with toothbrush and daily cleaner.
  • DO carry a case with you with fresh solution in it at all times.
  • DO remove your lenses and consult your eye doctor, if you experience redness, itching, irritation or pain.


  • DO NOT touch the tip of your bottles with your fingertips or touch your eye with the bottle tip when instilling lubricating drops.
  • DO NOT hold a rigid gas permeable lens by the edges. Hold it front to back.
  • DO NOT slide a rigid gas permeable lens across a flat surface.
  • DO NOT use hair spray when your lenses are in. Spray your hair BEFORE inserting your lenses.
  • DO NOT use saliva to wet your lenses. Your mouth is full of bacteria.
  • DO NOT sleep in your lenses unless instructed by your eye doctor.
  • DO NOT use cosmetics or contact lenses if your eyes are irritated or red.
  • DO NOT share cosmetics.
  • DO NOT reuse a mascara or eyeliner wand in refills.
  • DO NOT apply eyeliner to the inner margin of your eyelid.
  • DO NOT use waterproof mascara. It is very difficult to clean off lenses.
  • DO NOT use lash-builder mascara. It contains nylon and/or rayon fibers which can be irritating if they drop into the eye.
  • DO NOT use frosted eye shadow unless it has been specially formulated for use with contact lenses.
  • DO NOT apply cosmetics or lenses in a moving vehicle.
  • DO NOT separate clumped eyelashes with sharp instrument.

University of Iowa Health Science Relations and Christine Sindt, O.D.