Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tutorial: Storing and Taking Care of Lenses

Edit June 7,2011: Made a video to follow the directions easier ^_^
Watch it here

For a while now, I wanted to make a post on how I take care of my lenses. I am aware of the controversial conversations about circle lenses etcetera, but the way I see it is this:
If I take precautions in order to protect myself from eye infections and clean the lenses thoroughly and make sure I discard them when required, I can avoid anything happening to my eyes. My eyes are quite sensitive, and so if the lenses do not feel right, I will take them out. I have had my eyes checked, had a consultation with my optometrist and I am educated about the lenses, so I am pretty sure I can make an educated decision. If you are in any way considering wearing circle lenses, please go to your eye doctor first and make sure you do not have any special needs for your eyes. I am neither endorsing them, nor am I bashing them - this is my choice, and I ask that you educate yourself before making your own decision. That is all. I guess end of my super-long-disclaimer-type-thing.

Now, this post is going to describe how (with photos) I go from packaged lenses to storing them. So far, I have been wearing circle lenses for a bit over a year (a couple of times a month) and had no problems. If you have a different way that may be cleaner or better, please do let me know - I am all for improvement!

Now, all these photos were taken in my bathroom, which is where I generally do all of this (which also happens to be the cleanest place in my house), so I did not think it would be proper to do a fancy studio-lighting-shoot of these step-by-step-photos. Hope you don't get too frustrated with my bathroom-lighting. Thought it would just be natural :p

Now, for the "tutorial" itself~

Introducing, my "test bunny," the EOS V-202 in Green, one of the lenses I received a few days ago from an order I placed in December (-_-;). This is the last pair of the batch that I have not yet opened and stored, so here goes:

Get your favorite lens container. (I have stopped using the cheap lens cases that come with the lenses when you order them, because I am not one of those people who change the solution every day, and I learned the hard way that if you don't check on your lenses for a couple of weeks in those cases, the solution will be gone and your lenses will be dry and crusty. This is a lens case I got from Safeway (three for $6, I believe) and it has protective coating on the inside and it will store the solution and the lenses for a very long time without drying them out):

This is my Holy Grail solution for initial lens cleaning! It uses hydrogen peroxide that kills all the bacteria etcetera and is made to create a bubbling action for active cleaning to take away all the dirt and icky things. It's also great to use if you have worn lenses with lots of makeup and are afraid that you may have gotten it on the lenses. I will get into this product a bit more in a second:

Also, get out your regular solution for rinsing, because it will be useful shortly. For this, I use whatever I have handy at the time. My current solution is the one from Costco, but once this one is out, we'll see what comes next:

Open your lens container. If you are not sure how to do this, look for a little triangle mark on the silver top of the container, and push the white top up:

Pull off the silver top from around the container. If you happen to accidentally pull off the white top without the silver, gently utilize a letter opener or something similar to take it off. Luckily for me, the first container went smoothly, but the second one I had to battle with:

Yay! It's off! Now, open up the rubber top as well and you are done! Almost...

And this is what I call the "lens torture chamber." The little metal "thingie" neutralizes the hydrogen peroxide solution over 6 hours, causing bubbles to form, which clean the lenses:

Now, the container has a little line on it, so all you have to do is fill the hydrogen peroxide solution until this line. See how this solution has a BRIGHT RED cap? It's for those of us who may be silly enough to use this solution as a lens rinse. Which reminds me. Don't use this as a lens rinse >.< It will burn. It is supposed to be only used in the special container, as the container silver part will help neutralize it:

Now, pour out the lens and the solution it comes with into your palm, then gently take out the lens with your finger and place into the "torture chamber."

If you are one of those people who need different strength prescriptions, make sure you not the R and L on the "torture chamber," and keep track on which one is which.

Finally, place the "torture chamber" into the container with the solution, screw it on and watch the bubbles go! Leave it alone for about 6 hours or so. I like to do this overnight, so I don't have to look at the clock and wonder "is it done yet?" Yes, it is indeed because I am so impatient:

Now, once your 6-hour-wait-time has passed, you can see that there are no more bubbles cleaning the lenses and the solution is still. This means your lenses are clean and ready to use. You could potentially just take them out of the solution at this point and put them in. However, for me, I generally do this before I store them away in the regular lens solution in their case, so I am going to continue:

Fill your lens case with the regular lens solution. Like I mentioned before, I recommend the slightly more pricey lens cases that you can get at drug stores, because they will store your lenses longer. But it's really up to you:

Open up your "torture chamber" and take out the lenses gently with your fingers (make sure they are clean!):

Place the lenses in their respective sides of the container and you are finished. Unless you'd like to follow me a little longer to insure that you keep your lenses fresh.

Take a labeling sticker 1-inch in diameter (or cut one out that's about the size of the lens container) and write the BRAND, SERIES, COLOR, and DATE OPENED. Back when I had one or two lens pairs, it was easy to keep track of them - the names, brands, colors and when I had opened them, but now that I have a few more (I think about 6, so it's not too many), it's a bit harder. The most important factor is the date opened. Since I have not gotten them at the same time, I want to make sure that I do not wear them past their 8 mos-1 year wearing time. This is why the date is very helpful:

And now finally, you are done. You can go ahead and store them away until you decide to wear them. Not too bad, eh? And although it sounds like a lot of steps when I type it up, it really only takes at most 5 minutes to prepare for the solution, then about same amount to store them away. And it's not too much to give up to make sure your eyes are all nice and protected:

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