I think most of us would agree that the most challenging part of contact lens practice is remembering when to replace them for a fresh new pair.
If you're in a frequent replacement lens (2 week or monthly), you need to mindfully track when you are due to replace your contact lens. Unfortunately, you cannot simply rely on the method of "if it still feels good, it must be fine." Contact lens replacement schedules have been studied and tested to keep your eyes healthy and safe from damage. You can't feel corneal hypoxia (a lack of oxygen) or see the fine, blood vessels growing on your cornea (a condition known as neovascularization) as a result of overwearing your contact lenses.
Here are some simple & helpful ways to remind you to replace your contact lenses:
1) Printable Tracker
Click to download the Contact Lens Replacement Tracker. Print it out and keep it in your planner, hang it on your fridge, or tape it to the bathroom mirror. The point is for you to put it in a visible location so you look at it on a daily basis.
2) Calendar Reminders
Set a reminder as a calendar event on your phone and enable it to repeat every 2 weeks or monthly, depending on your recommended contact lens replacement schedule.
How to schedule a recurring contact lens reminder in iCal. Screenshot shows the event "Replace Contact Lenses" can be customized to repeat on the 1st and 15th of each month for a 2-week replacement schedule.
3) Text and E-Mail Reminders
Johnson & Johnson Vision Care offers the MyACUVUE® Reminders system that features alerts to change lenses, reorder lenses, and set up an eye exam. You can register for free at https://www.acuvue.com/myacuvue-reminders-benefits and receive alerts by text message or e-mail. This tool can be used with any contact lens brand, not just Acuvue lenses.
4) Smartphone Apps
Numerous free and paid apps are available for iOS and Android that remind you to change your lenses. The features and pricing vary by app. For example, some remind extended wear patients to remove lenses on certain days; some track each eye separately if each has a different replacement schedule; and some store the contact lens prescription with parameters. Visit your phone's app store to view Contact Lens Tracker, Contact Lenses, Lens Tracker LE, LensAlert, and Lens Care, to name a few.
5) Personal Virtual Assistants
Use Siri for iOS, Cortana for Microsoft, or an Android equivalent. For example, you can say, “Remind me to change my contact lenses on the 1st and 15th of the month, starting with December 1st.” The digital assistant will set up a reminder and alert you automatically when that time comes.
How to schedule a recurring contact lens reminder using the virtual assistant, Siri, on an iPhone. Screenshot shows the verbal request and the scheduled reminder to "Change my contact lenses."
Remember that "skipping" a day of wear still counts as one day of use. Think of your contact lenses like a perishable food item: once you break the seal and expose it to environmental bacteria, it starts to decay. Your solution needs to be changed daily due to the bacteria that is accumulating inside. Keep the contact lens case clean and replace it regularly, at least every three months.
Adherence to prescribed contact lens replacement schedules and recommended wearing schedules, as well as yearly eye examinations, are essential for good eye health.
If you find that keeping track of your contact lens replacement schedule is a hassle, talk to your local eye care professional about switching to daily disposables. You simply throw away the lens each night and start with a fresh one the next day.
How do you remember to replace your contact lenses on time? Share your tips/suggestions below!