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    7 tips for safer lens wear with cosmetics

    Clean, safe habits when applying makeup can help avoid lens wear complications


    4. Makeup removers

    All makeup removers are not made the same and can come in many forms such as liquids, foams, oils, pads, cloths, and creams. Recommend that patients remove their contact lenses prior to using an eye makeup remover.

    With most of those products, there is a good deal of scrubbing involved that may cause some concerns with the contact lenses. Some brands that work best with contact lenses are Neutrogena (Johnson & Johnson) and Clinique (Estée Lauder Companies), while typical lid scrubs like OCuSoft (Ocusoft) and Blephadex (Lunovus) work well to remove cosmetics as well. Typically, recommend the latter two for your blepharitis patients, but they also work well for makeup removal in general.

    5. Mascara replacement

    Mascara is applied directly to the top and lower lashes with the same brush used daily from the same tube. It is recommended that a single tube of mascara be replaced every three months. Patients should replace their mascara immediately if they contract any type of conjunctivitis.

    This three-month rule should also apply to any cosmetic applicators such as eye shadow as well. In addition, brushes used on lids or brows can be cleaned with mild soap and water.

    Related: How to establish value in the minds of contact lens wearers

    6. Daily replacement contact lenses vs. two-week/monthly

    While I think that daily disposable contact lenses are the healthiest choice for patients, not all patients will be open to this option. Because of this we must be prepared to assist even our two-week/monthly wearers.

    For your two-week and monthly replacement makeup-wearing contact lens patients, instruct them to put their contact lenses in their hands and rub for at least 20 seconds. This will remove any makeup or debris that has built up. This even applies to solutions that are “no rub” because this step may ensure a cleaner lens, which leads to more comfortable contact lens wear.  

    7. Case replacement

    Many makeup-wearing patients store their contact lens cases in their cosmetic bag. This causes the cases to be covered in makeup both on the inside and the outside of the case.

    The cosmetic bag is usually covered in bacteria from the makeup brushes, containers, and bottles. Recommend your patients have a separate bag for their contact lens products. In general, contact lens cases should be replaced every three months.

    I receive questions almost daily from patients about cosmetics, face products, makeup remover in regards to their eyes and contact lenses. Making a list of cosmetic dos and don’ts and printing it out for your contact lenses patients can help them better remember and follow your recommendations and understand why these steps are important to healthy lens wear.

    Properly discussing these tips can help our patients wear their contact lenses safely and avoid any complications. 

    Read more from Dr. Mitchell here

    Brittany Mitchell, OD
    Dr. Brittany Mitchell practices at Alabama Vision Center in Birmingham, AL, in an OD/MD setting. She is a graduate of the University of ...


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