Contact lenses are thin discs made of soft plastic that are worn by directly placing them on the eye. They are increasingly becoming common as an alternative to spectacles for correcting refractive errors in the eye. In addition to eye care, contact lenses are also often used as a fashion accessory to change the colour of the iris.

As in the case of any foreign object that is placed inside or close to a sensitive body part, contact lenses pose certain eye health risks as well. It is not uncommon for them to cause discomfort, pain, redness, or watery eyes. It is therefore important to take the following eye care and safety measures before wearing contact lenses to ensure they do not harm the eye:

Consult an eye doctor: Contact lenses are medical devices that need to be properly fitted by an eye care professional, even if you are just wearing them to change your eye colour. The doctor will examine your eye to ensure it is okay for you to wear contacts.

Make sure you do not have allergies or lubrication problems in the eye: Contact lenses may not be a good option for people who suffer from repeated eye infections or allergies, are exposed to large amounts of dust, or have dry eyes. Wearing contact lenses with such conditions could cause further complications and problems.

Take proper care of your lenses: Regular, thorough cleaning with commercially-prepared sterile solutions (and not home-made saline solutions that could be harmful) as well as proper storage is extremely important for prevention of infections through contact lenses.

Do not use cosmetic contact lenses: Beauty contact lenses bought from boutiques, shops and non-professional retailers can pose serious eye health risks, even to the extent of losing sight in the worst cases. It is therefore important to only buy prescription contact lenses from authorised medical retailers.

Contact your doctor in case of severe discomfort or pain: In case of any sudden change in vision or severe discomfort or pain in the eye, stop wearing the lenses and contact a medical professional immediately.