By Harry Chilinguerian

Most people only remember about 25% of what they’re told to do: find out what YOU might be missing…


What you may be missing?

One of the most important and commonly ignored steps in a contact lens fitting is the care instructions and wearing regimen. The trip to your eye care professional is exciting nervous and anxious all at the same time. Do I get my lenses today? Will I feel them? How hard is it to get them in? Through all the confusion sometimes we may overlook the tips our doctors and opticians give us. Not to worry, I will provide you with the run down on what to do and what not to do with those new eyes of yours.


First step – Solutions and cleaning

The first thing you will want to learn about is the cleaning solution your eye care professional has recommended. The newer solutions on the market are almost foolproof, but there are some things you need to know about using them. Most of the multi purpose solutions on the market today are marketed as ‘ no rub’, leading one to believe that for cleaning you just have to take the lens out and rinse then store into the solution. NOT SO! You must remove any debris from the lens by first rinsing it off then put a few drops of the solution I the palm of your hand and gently rub the lens around the palm in a small circular motion, first one side of the lens then the other. Rinse again, and place in the case, following manufacturer’s instructions as to duration of disinfection time. Then when you are going to put the contact lenses in you just rinse again and place them in your eyes. These no rub solutions are the most commonly prescribed cleaning solutions today and are very effective in removing debris and bacteria from the surface of the contact lens if on occasion you do not rub your lenses upon removal.


Tips to remember

– Remember to rinse the contact lens before inserting this will ensure that any debris is washed away from the surface

– If the tip of the solution touches the contact lens or your eye the whole bottle might be contaminated

– Clean the case at least once a week with warm water, using a new toothbrush to scrub the case out. Let the case air dry and every 2-3 months throw the case away.*


Step two – Soft lens Preparation

Before you go rushing to put those lenses in you have to ask yourself one question. Have I washed my hands? As obvious as this may sound, it is still a common fumble when it comes to inserting contact lenses. Keep in mind that we are trying to maintain a sterile and healthy environment for our eyes. After washing your hands we open the lenses and check to see if they are inverted or not. I bet you didn’t know that contact lenses will go on your eye whether they are inside out or not. Its true the lenses will fit right on your eye inside out, they may feel uncomfortable or pop out quickly but it can and does happen. To prevent the lens from going in inside out we are going to learn three methods to test the lens for the correct side.

  1. The Taco Test – This technique is accomplished by placing the lens in the crease of your hand towards the outside of the palm.       As you close the palm of your hand you should notice the lens rolls in the shape of a taco if done correctly.       If the lens is inside out you will notice that the edges will flair out and the middle of the lens will fold against itself.
  2. The Bowl – This method consists of scrutinizing the contact lens on the tip of your finger to see if it forms the shape of a bowl. If the lens is inside out you will notice that the edges flare out. Sometimes you will have to flip it and check it both ways just to be sure.
  3. The Code Word – For those of you with good near vision some of the manufacturers have engrave letters or numbers on the lens to help you tell which side is right. If the letters are backwards then they are inside out.


Tips to remember

– Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

– If you wear makeup, eye creams, or hand lotion; put them on after getting the lens in. This should help the lenses stay cleaner and wetter.


Step three – Insertion

Here comes the fun part- are you ready? There’re a number of different ways to put contact lenses in so don’t feel like this is the say all be all of inserting lenses. This is just the most commonly taught way of doing it if you feel you have a better way try it a few times to see if it works. First you place the contact lens on the index finger of the hand you write with. With that same hand you take the middle finger and hold down the bottom lid by the lid margin. Now the free hand should reach over the head and hold the top lid by the lid margin. You should have created a large enough opening for the contact lens to go in with out touching anything other than the eye. Bring the finger closer towards the eye and when all the edges of the lens touch your eye then the contact will release from your finger and attach to your cornea. Release your hands and slowly close your eye, patting your eye through the lid gently. I find that patting it a little helps to get out any air that has been trapped under the lens. Repeat for other eye.


Tips to remember

– Hold the lids as close to the eyelashes as possible to prevent from blinking

– After every 3-4 tries place a drop or two of solution on the lens to prevent the lens from drying out.

– Gazing upward will help to keep the upper lid open a little better.

– Staring at a mirror in front of you instead of the lens helps.

– Start with the same eye every time from start to finish to prevent mixing up the contacts.

Step four – Removal

There is two main ways of removing the contact lenses. We will start with the short fingernail technique. Pull the contact lens down onto the sclera or the white of your eye with your index finger. Now using your thumb and index finger gently pinch the lens out. Remember to never pinch the lens straight from off the cornea you could possibly do damage that way. The second technique is the long fingernail technique. Take the middle knuckle of your index finger and place it on the lens and in a “J” motion sweep the lens down and to the side using you whole finger in the process. The lens will roll up into the side of your eye for you to take out.


Tips to remember

– Your contact lens can -not roll into the back of your eye.

– Don’t pinch straight off the cornea.


Step 5 – Wearing Schedule

This is one of the most important parts to listen to and remember. The first day you should wear your lens for 4 hours. Then add 2 more hours every day until you have reached your prescribed lenses wearing time. It is also important to keep in mind that lenses should not be worn for longer then prescribed; 8-10 hour lens should be just that. If they are disposable lenses throw them away at the proper time. Don’t and I repeat, don’t try to make them last longer. The FDA determines the life of the lens and wearing times allowed through vigorous testing. Any questions you have in this area are best handled by your eye care professional.


Symptoms – Adaptive / Abnormal / Emergencies

They come clear or in colors, but don’t be fooled contact lenses are a medical device. As such they can have side effects and complications. It is important to know what they are so you will be well prepared should any of these situations present themselves to you.


Adaptive Symptoms

These are normal symptoms that most lens wearer will notice until they are fully adapted to wearing contact lenses.

  1. Tearing up when you first insert the lens.
  2. Felling scratchy or like something is in the eye.
  3. Mild photophobia or light sensitivity.
  4. Slight headaches for higher prescriptions

These symptoms usually go away after getting used to a full days wear, but could take longer. Expect some of the symptoms to reappear when being fitted for new brands or material lenses.


Abnormal and Emergencies

If any of these symptoms occur during contact lens wear remove the lens and call your eye care practitioner.

  1. Persistent pain.
  2. Burning and tearing.
  3. Redness that won’t clear up.
  4. Hazy vision that remains an hour or more after removal.
  5. Sensitivity to light (photophobia)

If any of these symptoms occur it is important to remove the lenses and contact your eye care professional or nearest emergency room for advice.


Things to Remember

– If you happen to fall asleep in lenses don’t rip them out upon waking.

– Make sure the lens moves freely then lubricate and remove.

– Your eyes may feel a little scratchy and irritated afterwards discontinue contact lens wear for at least twenty-four hours.


If you found this article helpful look forward to the Contact Lens Wear and Care – Rigid Gas Permeable Lens coming soon.


*Contact Lens Manual Volume I by the Contact Lens Society of America


About the Author:

Harry Chilinguerian has been working in the business for over 8 years and is ABO-AC, NCLE, COA certified. Harry has also been approved by the ABO as a technical speaker and is a contributing author to Opticourier Magazine. Harry also sits on the board of the Association for Technical Opticians as well as moderates for




The Risks Of Internet Dispensing

Purchasing Eyewear on the Internet Online purchasing has made its way into virtually every aspect of life. In many cases, shopping ...

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Contact Lens Wear and Care – Soft Lenses

By Harry Chilinguerian Most people only remember about 25% of what they’re told to do: find out what YOU might be ...

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Contact Lens Wear and Care – Soft Lenses
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Vision Kelowna Launches Master Program

April 27, 2017April 27, 2017
VisionKelownaOn Sunday April 23rd 2017 the OAC – BC chapter hosted the Vision Kelowna Spring Educational Event, a full day of learning, brainstorming and networking that brought together a great number of Opticians who made the event a success! It was a great pleasure for the OAC – BC to have the opportunity to bring education and support closer to Opticians residing in the interior regions of BC. During the event the OAC launched the Ophthalmic Dispensing Master Program, the next level of education for Opticians, designed to further our knowledge and skills, 'raising the bar' of professionalism across the country. Professor Ed August, a world-renowned educator and presenter, thought the first four courses of the Ophthalmic Dispensing Master Program, including History & Vision Care Technology, Lens Cross, Power of Cylinder Away From Axis, and Curves. The response to the program was tremendous, as we had both newly licensed Opticians and long term Opticians share their feedback and express that it was good to be challenged during the sessions, felt that by the end they had great learnings, and further expressing their desire to partake in the full program. Vision Kelowna also set stage for Jonathon Smith, who presented – “From Design to Production”, as well as for Dr. Andrea Lasby, who presented – “Addressing the Consequences of our Connected World: Digital Eye Fatigue”. Both fantastic topics that captured the attention of the audiences, providing with learning opportunities that will assist Opticians meet the needs of consumers while providing highest quality of eye care. The College of Opticians of British Columbia was also one of the key presenter at our event, as they introduced the new continuing competency program that will be launching in January 2018. This program will further elevate Opticianry in our province, assuring the quality of the practice of the profession and promoting continuing competence among Licensed Opticians. Our event was also supported by exhibitors such as Optik K&R, Cooper Vision and CNIB, who granted the opportunity for our members to learn about their products and services. It was wonderful to see among the attendees, Opticians of various areas of expertise, and a variety of experience levels networking during the event, as their shared their knowledge and experiences. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors: OAC, Marcolin, PPG, Optik K&R, Luxottica, and Cooper Vision, for making Visions Kelowna come to life. With gratitude, Claudia Rojas OAC Director, British Columbia Licensed Optician


January 14, 2015January 14, 2015
LogoThe Risks Of Internet Dispensing Purchasing Eyewear on the Internet Online purchasing has made its way into virtually every aspect of life. In many cases, shopping on the Internet is easy and convenient and provides a quality, reliable service. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The attraction of buying prescription eyewear over the Internet is that it may be faster or cheaper than visiting an optical store. But at what cost? Buying prescription eyewear is not like shopping for books or clothes. In British Columbia, Licensed Opticians are regulated and guaranteed to be highly trained, follow a standard of care, ethical and accountable. Only registered contact lens fitters are legally permitted to fit contact lenses and  automated refracting opticians are legally permitted to assess visual acuity. The information provided refers only to those circumstances where prescription eyewear is purchased over the Internet from someone who is not authorized to dispense – that is, from someone who is not a Licensed Optician, Optometrist of Ophthalmologist. Purchasing prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses from someone you do not know brings with it a range of risks. Some of these risks relate to the health of the eye (e.g. improperly fitted contact lenses can cause injury to the cornea) and some relate to the effectiveness of the eyewear (e.g. eyeglasses with lenses that do not match a patient’s eye measurements can impair vision). Improperly fitted eyewear can interfere with your ability to see, causing impaired depth perception, blurred vision, falls and other accidents, and worsened near or far-sightedness. The following is just a partial list of the risks and problems posed by Internet dispensing:
  • You have no guarantee that you are dealing with a Licensed Optician, Optometrist or Ophthalmologist. Vision care via the internet may be and sometimes is provided by inexperienced people who are not members of one of the regulated health professions.
  • Internet sellers may not be professionally responsible, leaving a Licensed Optician, Optometrist or Ophthalmologist to deal with the cleanup - upkeep, maintenance and troubleshooting - of online eyewear purchases. Licensed Opticians have the ability to recognize health issues dealing with the cornea and to refer a patient to another health professional before any serious harm can come to the eye. Licensed Opticians are also trained to take proper anatomical measurements, make appropriate initial and ongoing adjustments to eyewear, and to perform thorough pre and post-assessment of contact lenses to ensure vision health and safety, comfort, peak performance and clear accurate vision. You cannot get this kind of care over the Internet.
  • Eyeglasses and contact lenses need to be fitted to each individual patient based on measurements of the eye and face. This also cannot be done over the Internet.
  • Improperly fitted eyeglasses and contact lenses can cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea. These side effects can also prove dangerous if you are in a situation such as driving, carrying glass or hot beverages, handling machinery and so on.
  • Contact lenses are “medical devices” regulated by Health Canada. When you purchase contact lenses over the Internet, you may get a product that does not meet Health Canada’s requirements for safety, effectiveness and quality.
  • You may get a product that has been recalled due to safety concerns.
  • You may get a counterfeit product (e.g. a lower-quality product that is falsely labeled as being a higher-quality brand).
  • You may receive a product that has not been stored properly. Contact lenses need to be protected from freezing and heat. When you order contacts over the Internet, you do not know where the product has been stored or for how long.
  • You may receive a product that has expired. Contact lenses have an expiry date, after which it is not necessarily safe to use the product.
  • Internet dispensers may not be professionally accountable
  • Prescription eyewear is not “one size fits all”, Licensed Opticians are front line, regulated health care professionals who serve as public educators on eye care issues including disease prevention and detection and are trained to answer patients’ questions on a broad range of eye care issues, from dry eyes to corrective surgery. Licensed Opticians determine what kinds of lenses and frames are required based on a patient’s prescription, needs and individual circumstances. Licensed Opticians also receive training in eye health problems and may recognize an issue that should be treated by an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist.WHEN YOU PURCHASE PRESCRIPTION EYEGLASSES OR CONTACT LENSES, YOU ARE MORE THAN A CONSUMER – YOU ARE A PATIENT.Of the five senses - sight, sound, smell, touch and taste - the brain relies first and foremost on sight to provide essential information. The ability of the brain to assess and evaluate situations, determine courses of action and debate the risks associated with specific courses of action are determined, in part, by its ability to understand the images transferred from the eye. Only Licensed Opticians, Optometrists and Ophthalmologists have the necessary knowledge, skill, judgment, and accountability to dispense eyewear safely and competently. Beyond any doubt, poorly dispensed eyewear can be detrimental to your vision. It is critical that patients deal only with regulated eye care professionals who will ensure that their eyes, and their vision, remain healthy and protected.

Eyewear Incident Report