No more eyeglasses slipping down your nose, full peripheral vision without turning your head, a pure view of your natural face… everyone who wears contact lenses could write their own list of benefits. Yet, what about all the safety guidelines for wearing contacts lenses? Could you list them, and how many of these rules do you follow?
When worn responsibly, contacts are considered one of the safest medical devices around. However, when you don’t care for them properly, you are putting your eyes at a serious health risk. As you know, germs are everywhere. But when bacteria and fungi stick to your contact lenses, they can easily invade your eye and multiply there, leading to severe eye infection.
8 Precautions for Contact Lens Wearers
1. Never sleep in your contacts
According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control, this is the most popular offense. Eye care specialists recommend removing your lenses before napping or sleeping, because leaving them in raises your risk of infection, irritation, and corneal injury. When your eyes are closed, less oxygen reaches them, making your eyes more vulnerable to infection. To add to this problem, closed eyelids also hold any germs on your contacts close to your eye.
2. Don’t swim or shower in your lenses
All water – including rivers, oceans, lakes, swimming pools, hot tubs, and tap water – is a fertile breeding ground for acanthamoeba, bacteria that can cause dangerous eye infection.
3. Don’t clean your contacts with saline
Saline is nothing more than sterile salt water. It cannot disinfect your contact lenses. If you’re not sure which type of disinfectant is best for you and your lenses, check with your eye doctor for a recommendation.
4. Replace your contact lens case regularly
Eye doctors advise switching to a new contact lens case about every three months. Just like your toothbrush or kitchen sponge, lens cases get dirty and need to be replaced.
5. Don’t recycle your contact lens solution
If you’re looking for a way to save money, this isn’t it! Once your contact lens solution is used once, the disinfecting capability is gone. You need to use fresh solution every time you remove and store your lenses. Topping off the remaining disinfectant with a bit of new solution is also prohibited.
6. Remove your lenses when they bother you
Many people just deal with eye irritation from their contact lenses. However, leaving your lenses in your eyes when they are uncomfortable isn’t smart – you could have an infection or other type of corneal injury.
7. Don’t lick your lenses
Next time you consider wetting your lenses with saliva, think again. Your mouth is full of germs, none of which are safe to put in your eyes.
8. Discard dailies after a day
Never reuse daily disposable contact lenses. They were designed to be worn for just one day.