While contact lenses are safely adopted by millions of people every day, they do carry a risk of eye infection. The best way to avoid eye infections is to follow proper lens care guidelines as prescribed by your eye care professional. If you do not use lenses as directed, you could be damaging your eyes. Clean and safe handling of your contacts is one of the most important things you can do to protect your eyes and maintain good overall eye health. In this article, we’ll be providing information on the good and bad steps of contact lens care.
Things You Should Always Do
The type of contact lenses you have determine how you care for it. Disposable extended-wear soft lenses need the least care while conventional soft lenses need extensive care. To avoid the risk of eye infection and complications, you must carefully follow directions for lens care. To help you get started, here are a few ways to look after your lenses. Keep in mind these are general tips, and you should always confirm with your eye doctor what the best care practices are for your particular lenses.
Wash Your Hands. Before handling contact lenses, wash and rinse your hands thoroughly. Use a mild non-cosmetic soap. Soaps with fragrance, oils or lotions leave a film on the hands, which may transfer to your lenses and irritate the eye.
Cut Your Nails. It’s also a good idea to keep your fingernails short and smooth to avoid damaging your lenses or scratching the eye.
Clean Your Lenses and Lens Case. During cleaning, place the lens in the palm of your hand, apply a generous amount of solution and gently rub the lens against your palm with your pointer finger, using a back-and-forth motion.
Remember to keep your contact lens case clean and replace it regularly, at least every three months. Lens cases can become a source of contamination and infection. Also remember to use fresh solution daily.
Use the Correct Eye Products and Solutions. Different types of contact lenses require special care and certain types of products. There are various types of drops and solutions available, including contact lens multi-purpose solutions that clean, disinfect and store contact lenses. Most cleaning solutions are recommended for conventional (non-disposable) contact lenses but can be used with disposable contact lenses, too. They can help remove any build-up of unwanted deposits, and debris such as oils and proteins. If these deposits are left on your lenses, you may feel discomfort or eye irritation.
Use the disinfecting solution, eye drops and enzymatic cleaners your eye care professional recommends. Some eye products or eye drops are not safe for contact lens wearers.
Do Not Use Tap Water. Never use tap water directly on lenses. Microorganisms can live in distilled water, causing infection or sight damage.
Never Sleep with Contact Lenses. Unless you are prescribed extended wear contacts, do not sleep with contact lenses in your eyes. Closed eyes don’t allow tears to carry a healthy amount of oxygen to your eyes.
Wear Protection. Contact lenses may cause your eyes to become more sensitive to sunlight. Wear sunglasses with UV protection or a wide brim hat when in the sun.
Remove Your Contact Lenses if Irritated. If you develop an eye irritation, remove your contact lenses immediately. Wearing a contaminated pair of lenses invites the infection to stay. If symptoms do not improve, talk with your eye care professional.
Get Regular Eye Exams. If you wear contact lenses, you should be examined by an eye care professional annually, and more often if needed. Contact lens prescriptions do expire — typically within one year. Annual exams ensure they continue to have an accurate and appropriate prescription for your vision needs.
Things You Should Never Do
To reduce the risk of infection, you should not:
- Wear contact lenses if your eyes are red or sore, or your vision is blurry
- Insert contact lenses if they are damaged
- Keep disposable contact lenses longer than instructed by your optometrist
- Use contact lens solution types or disinfection procedures without consulting your optometrist
- Use medicated drops on contact lenses without your optometrist’s approval
- Wear contact lenses when swimming, unless you’re wearing goggles
- Wear another person’s contact lenses
Schedule a Consultation
Proper eye care is essential to vision health, and the same applies to how you carry out your contact lens care, as well. To learn more, schedule a consultation with Advanced Eye Medical today. Dr. Ghosheh and his team will discuss and review your lens options in order to find the perfect fit for you and your desired results.