The importance of properly caring for your contact lenses cannot be overlooked. Not only does appropriate contact lens care help to promote good ocular health, but it can play a huge role in fighting the symptoms of contact lens related dryness such as irritation, burning, and decreased wear time. You were likely thoroughly trained on care for contact lenses the first time you received your lenses, but with a topic as important as ocular health, it is always good to review. Don’t forget, proper care means more comfortable eyes! Continue reading to brush up on tips for caring for your contact lenses.
Contact Lenses: Reviewing the Basics
Don’t Over-wear: Any doctor will tell you that it is vitally important not to over-wear your contact lenses. Wearing your contact lenses for longer than the prescribed duration puts you at significantly higher risk for infections and other contact lens related complications. While you may think you are saving a few bucks by stretching your lenses past their intended use, you may end up costing yourself more by causing a serious ocular health concern.
Use an Approved Cleaning Solution: The contact lens cleaning solution recommended by your doctor is the only liquid you should be putting on your lenses. Tap water, distilled water, saliva, or any other liquid should not be used to clean and store your lenses.
Keep Your Case Clean: Remember to dump out old solution and clean your contact lens case after every use. “Topping off” solution or failing to rinse out your case leaves your contact lenses susceptible for bacterial invasion.
Your Lenses are YOUR Lenses: Never share your contact lenses with anyone else, even if you think you have the same prescription. Your lenses have been specifically chosen for you by an eye care professional taking into account many factors in your eyes. Sharing lenses can lead to spread infections or other complications.
Have a Backup: If your eyes are red, irritated, or painful, take out your contact lenses and wear your back up glasses instead. Always remember to bring a back-up pair of contact lenses or glasses while travelling in case a lens is damaged, or the sanitation of a lens is compromised.
The Risks of Poor Contact Lens Hygiene
Those contact lens wearers who care for their lenses poorly tend to have a much higher rate of contact lens complications. Contact lens related dryness is much more common in those who over-wear their lenses or do not properly disinfect and store their contact lenses. Additionally, those with poor contact lens hygiene are at risk for sight-threatening complications resulting from infections. Some infections, such as those resulting from the Acanthamoeba bacteria, can quickly damage corneal tissue, and have the potential to result in permanent vision loss within a matter of hours. This type of infection most commonly occurs in contact lens wearers who use tap water to clean or store their lenses. Even though some lenses are approved for overnight wear, talk to your doctor about sleeping in your lenses; if your eyes are particularly susceptible to infections, sleeping in contact lenses may only increase your risks.