It can be frustrating when your contact lenses keep ripping and tearing. Soft contact lenses are made from gel-like, water-containing plastics called hydrogels.They are very thin and flexible and easily conform to the eye. Introduced in the early 1970s, hydrogel lenses made contact lenses more popular and common because they were so comfortable to wear. The only alternative at the time was the old-fashioned hard contact lenses which were made of PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate) plastic that were rigid, uncomfortable, and did not pass oxygen to the cornea of the eye and most importantly took weeks to adapt to so many people couldn't wear them successfully. This is why soft contact lenses are such a great invention and are drastically more comfortable than their old counterpart. This increased comfort and wearability of soft contact lenses comes with one downside which is the increased fragility. But keep in mind that soft contact lenses are better for your eyes because they allow for oxygen to pass through to your cornea.
Although their nature makes them fragile they are very durable when handled correctly and with care. If you are faced with torn contact lenses often it is only because of the way you are handling them. Below are a few issues and suggestions on how to avoid this problem.
- Taking contacts out of a dry eye: Lenses tend to tear and rip as they dry out, and contacts ripping is usually an issue when you try to take a dry lens out of your dry eye. To avoid this, use a few drops of moisturizing solution on the lens and eye before removing it.
- Cleaning too aggressively: Rubbing your contacts gently with your fingers to clean them will help remove deposits but we suggest using a rub free all in one solution to avoid tearing your lenses.
- Long or sharp fingernails: If you think your nails are ripping your contact lenses, use a lens removal kit (available here) or make sure you remove your lenses with the pad of your thumb and index finger. Keep your nails short and smooth, especially when you are new to contact lenses.
- Rubbing eyes while wearing contacts: This can cause rips and tears, and it can also make you vulnerable to corneal abrasions. Abrasions not only tear your contact lens, they can also scratch your cornea and lead to problems with your vision.
Contact lenses tearing can happen to anyone but as this can be expensive and very frustrating so it is best to avoid it by being proactive and very careful every time you wear and handle your lenses. Make sure you take some solution, eye drops and the storage case with you whenever you are wearing your lenses out.
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