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howto-use-contact-lensWhen you're just starting to wear glasses, it's strange to adjust to having wire frames on your face. Perhaps you remember the feeling of trying to put a hat on that is tight around the ears or reaching up to rub an eye, only to encounter something in the way. If you have worn glasses for a long time, however, you know that you do eventually get used to the discomforts and quirks of glasses. Just like there is a learning curve with glasses, many are intimidated by getting started with contact lenses.

Getting used to your contact lenses will always take a little while and you won't adjust to them in a day, but you can make the process faster and easier if you know what you're doing. Here are some tips to help you get started with contact lenses.

Total comfort will take a few weeks.

Many people who are brand-new to contact lenses find that total comfort with them occurs within one to two weeks. GP lenses, short for gas-permeable lenses, can take longer to adjust to if you have only used soft lenses and aren't used to their smaller diameter. Large-diameter GP lenses may be available for you if you experience a lot of trouble and your eyelids adjust to the feeling of the edges of the lenses. If you're not sure what kinds of lenses are available, look at a provider such as NextDayLenses to see what is available and talk to your doctor about the different choices you see.

You can adjust to the feeling of touching your eye.
If you don't often wear makeup or are nervous about touching your eye – which is very different from touching your eyelid – you may blink a lot. You can gradually adjust to the sensation of touching your eye if you're willing to patiently put some effort into it. For instance, dip your index fingertip in warm (not hot or cold, just body temperature) water, then gently touch your eyeball. Because of the water numbing your eye, you won't actually feel the touch. You can also get numbing drops if you experience a lot of discomfort. Ensure your hands and the lenses are clean when you're actually inserting lenses, and make sure they are properly hydrated (with drops, not tap water) and positioned.

Ask your doctor for advice.

Your eye doctor can provide a lot of helpful advice and tips when it comes to adjusting to the sensation of contact lenses. Don't be shy about asking – they have had lots of other patients ask similar questions before, and have learned about coping techniques and ways to practice inserting contact lenses to minimize the discomfort. Also, if your lenses are uncomfortable, your doctor can make sure they are shaped and positioned correctly, avoiding long-term eye damage. They can assess how you are adjusting over the first week or two of use.

Becoming accustomed to contact lenses will take some time, but you can adjust faster and easier if you follow these tips. Make sure you're correctly inserting the lenses, as you should not feel pain when you do so. Never forget, your eye doctor is one of the best sources of advice on eye comfort!

Elizabeth Garvey enjoys sharing her insights online through blogging.

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