Editor’s note: As we end Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month, Empish Thomas talks about the cosmetic reasons for her choice to wear ocular lenses and the vital importance of properly caring for them.
Decision to Wear Ocular Lenses
In 2012, I made a radical decision, to stop wearing dark sunglasses and start wearing ocular lenses. It was a huge step for me because I had been wearing sunglasses for such a long time. But I felt it was the right decision. I wanted to do it because of cosmetic reasons. I wanted my face to have a more natural look and I wanted to feel better about my appearance. My decision had nothing really to do with any medical problems I was having with my eyes. I openly shared about this transition in a blog post for VisionAware called “They Look So Real!”
Tips on Care and Maintenance
Well, in these passing years I have had no regrets about my decision and have grown to really love my ocular lenses because they really do look so real. But with that being said, there is work to be done when wearing ocular lenses or what some people commonly call prosthetic or fake eyes. In the next few paragraphs I want to share some common tips on care and maintenance of ocular lenses. These tips are good to follow to keep your lenses in good shape and keep your eyes safe. If you are wearing ocular lenses or considering doing so, I hope these tips will be helpful.
- One of the first things I did when I started wearing my ocular lenses was to get clear instructions from the ocularist. He gave me both verbal and written instructions on how to properly clean, wear and maintain my lenses. These instructions were important to follow not only so that my lenses could last but to keep my natural eyes safe and free from damage or complications.
- Since my ocular lenses were designed to fit my eyes only, I wear them day and night so I don’t have to remove them very often. Initially I removed them more often while going through the adjustment process. Since my natural eyes had shrunk and my eyelids had closed for some time it took a while for my eyes to get use to a foreign object inserted over top of my eyeball. I would wear them during the day and then remove at night. Today I wear them day and night; only removing them for proper cleaning. I was advised the less handling of the prosthesis the better.
- When it comes to cleaning, I clean my ocular lenses once a week. But it can vary with each person depending on the amounts of tear, mucus and protein deposits and debris. Taking care and cleaning your lenses will not only keep them looking natural but increase their longevity. First wash your hands thoroughly. Next, remove the lenses either with your fingers or with a suction cup. Softly wash lenses with warm water and mild soap like baby shampoo. Do not clean the lenses with any solvents, hand sanitizer or alcohol because these chemicals may damage the lenses and your eyes and eye socket. Gently rub the lenses thoroughly then rinse clean. Next, dry with soft towel. Before inserting lenses back into your eye sockets it is a good idea to clean them too. You can take a washcloth and gently lift the eye lid and clean the area including the eyelashes. Then insert lenses into eye socket. To avoid dry eyes, my ocularist recommended using some mineral water. So I squeeze a few drops over each lens before inserting.
- Even with proper cleaning, over time heavy surface deposits formed by tears, protein and mucus, can present a dull film. This dull film can cause irritation and can also be a sign that it is time to get your lenses polished. It is advised to get ocular lenses polished at least once a year; or sometimes every six months depending on the buildup. During this appointment the ocularist will polish the lenses, check them for any needed adjustments and answer any questions you might have about care and maintenance.
- Although you can properly clean, maintain and polish ocular lenses, they do not last forever. Depending on your ocularist, lenses will have to be replaced every 3-7 years. This might be due to the fact that your natural eyeball has shrunk more causing the lens to no longer fit snuggly. Or the tissue in the eye socket can change causing the lenses to become scratched or damaged. Another cause is the natural deterioration of the lenses’ plastic and pigmentation. Other factors can be your age, overall health and lifestyle.
- While writing this post I scheduled my next appointment to see my ocularist. I have noticed that my right lens keeps moving around and I have to keep adjusting it. This might be due to more shrinkage and time for a new fitting. But only through a conversation will I know for sure. It is so important when wearing ocular lenses that when you notice changes that you talk with your ocularist so that they can check and make any adjustments. This will insure proper fitting, longevity and overall enjoyment of your lenses.
Let’s Discuss Maintenance Tips
Wearing ocular lenses has been an enjoyable experience for me. The cleaning, care and maintenance can sometimes be a bit of an inconvenience but I would not go back to dark sunglasses for anything.
So, do you wear ocular lenses? If so, did you find my tips helpful?
Are there other tips or suggestions you use to keep your lenses clean and well-maintained? Share your comments with us.