If you freak out at the thought of sticking your fingers in your eyes, you’re not alone. Lots of people have a phobia of touching eyes. After all, we’re hardwired to protect our eyes from foreign objects, so it makes total sense that a fear of inserting contact lenses can cause anxiety.
But if you’ve got your heart set on switching from eye glasses to easy-to-use, safe and convenient daily disposable contact lenses, there are ways to soothe your stress. Here are five tips to overcome your fear of inserting contact lenses.
1. Keep it clean
Some of us hesitate to make the move from eye glasses because of hygiene fears. You may be nervous about somehow causing damage or infection to your eyes. However, your contact lens provider will educate you on proper contact lens care.
Being hyper-vigilant when it comes to cleanliness is key to putting your mind at rest. Always wash and thoroughly dry your hands before inserting or removing your contact lenses. Apply them with a clean face, free of makeup, creams and perfumes.
2. Be kind to yourself
Although the prospect may be daunting at first, the process of wearing contact lenses is easy, simple and safe. If you’re worried about using contacts incorrectly or have a fear of inserting contact lenses, your eye care provider will teach you about the process of inserting and removing lenses.
Be kind to yourself, take things at your own pace and give yourself plenty of time to adjust to the process. When you find yourself getting frustrated, remember why you’ve chosen to wear daily disposable contact lenses. They’re more convenient than eye glasses for everything from sports to socializing, they’re super easy to use once you get the hang of them and they’re safe and healthy for your eyes. Before you know it, you’ll be loving life with your lenses. Your confidence, both in wearing lenses and yourself, will flourish.
3. Separate fact from fiction
Sometimes, it’s impossible not to listen to hearsay when it comes to your health. But just because your best friend’s mum’s neighbor ‘lost her contact behind her eye’ doesn’t mean you’re going to (because you can’t: there’s simply nowhere for it to go). There are a few stories circulating about contacts that need clearing up. Let’s debunk some of those myths to put you at ease.
Myth 1: your contact lens will slip behind your eye
This is not physically possible because a membrane around the eye prevents the lens from going anywhere. Worst case scenario: your lens is just folded up and trapped under the upper lid. If this happens, gently massage your upper lid downwards to help free the lens. If this does not work, your eye care provider can help remove it swiftly and with minimum fuss.
Myth 2: your contact lens will get stuck on your eye
Although it’s possible for a contact lens to get stuck to the surface of your eye, it will always come off. In most cases, all you have to do is apply some eye drops and the moisture will loosen it up, flushing the eye and making it easier to remove. If you’re having trouble, your eye care provider can help.
Myth 3: contacts are hard to put in, uncomfortable and painful
We’re not going to lie: the first few times wearing contacts will feel a little odd. Like any new experience, it will take time to adjust. But once you do, you won’t notice they’re there. After all, millions of people around the world wear contacts every day – if contact lenses were painful, no one would bother!
If your contact lenses don’t feel right after a few days, see your eye doctor. It could be that they’re not the right fit or type for you.
4. Do a practice run
If you have a genuine phobia of touching eyes, ease yourself in gently. In the lead up to wearing contacts for the first time, practice touching your eyes for a few days in a row to get yourself used to this new process. It will desensitize your eyes, and help your mind understand that it’s OK and safe to touch your eyeball.
First, find somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed. Wash your hands. Take three deep, calming breaths. Begin by gently tracing your fingertips over your eyelashes, upper and lower eyelids. Finally, touch the white part of your eye.
Make sure you talk about your fear of touching eyes with your eye care provider. They will be able to guide you through the process, allay any further fears and give you a trial pair of lenses to practice with. You could also consider cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or hypnotherapy.
5. Resist the urge to blink
So, you’ve got to grips with touching your eyeball. Well done! Next, you need to tackle the urge to blink. Blinking is a natural reflex that occurs when an object moves close to your eye – great when protecting it from foreign bodies; not so great when you’re trying to put in a contact lens. Here’s an exercise to practice resisting that reflex.
- Place your index finger on your upper eyelid.
- Place the thumb of that hand on your lower eyelid.
- With your other hand, pretend you’re putting lenses into your eyes.
- Think of it as placing the lens ON your eye, rather than actually touching your eye.
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