The optometric assistant provides patients with much of the instruction about wearing and caring for contact lenses.
By reviewing proper contact lens care, the patient is reminded of the importance of basic contact lens hygiene and can also address any contact lens issues they might be experiencing with the assistant and the physician.
CONTACT LENS CARE
• Advise the patient to choose a clean, flat surface to work on. If the patient must work over a sink, advise them to plug the drain and place a towel over the bowl of the sink to keep dropped contact lenses from going down the drain.
• Instruct the patient to wash and dry their hands thoroughly, avoiding the use of tissue or toilet paper to dry hands, since the loose-weave fibers may be inadvertently transferred from tissue to finger to contact lenses.
• After removing the contact lens from its storage container, rinse the lens with the doctor-recommended solution.
• Inspect the lens for scratches, rips, or any other type of defect. Lenses that have a defect should never be inserted into the eye. Return them to the manufacturer.
• Contact lens storage cases should be rinsed thoroughly with hot water,
allowed to air dry, and refilled with fresh soaking solution daily. The case should be replaced monthly.
CONTACT LENS INSERTION
• Remove the right lens from the storage case and rinse with solution.
• Place the lens on the tip of forefinger and visually inspect for rips, cleanliness, and to determine if lens is correct side out. If the lens is in the correct position, the edges will point straight up. If the lens is inside out, the edges will flare out.
• Lift the upper eyelid with the middle finger of the hand opposite the one holding the contact lens. Gently pull down the bottom lid with the middle finger of the hand holding the contact lens.
• Gently place the lens on the central part of the right cornea.
• Without blinking: look up, look down, look left, and look right. Then release lids and slowly blink.
• Cover the other eye and look at distant objects to make sure the lens is in place.
• Repeat to insert left contact lens.
CONTACT LENS REMOVAL
• If eyes are dry, moisten them by instilling some non-preserved artificial tears or contact lens rewetting solution. Blink eyes several times.
• Pull down lid of right eye with forefinger of the non-dominant hand.
• Place the tip of forefinger of the dominant hand on the lower edge of lens. Gently slide lens down toward the lower white of the eyes (inferior sclera).
• Using the thumb and forefinger of the dominant hand, gently pinch the contact lens and remove contact lens from eye.
• Place lens into contact storage case with appropriate physician-recommended cleaning/disinfection solution.
• Repeat to remove lens in left eye.
Janet Hunter, COMT, president of Eye Source, LLC, specializes in ophthalmic technician training.