Contact lenses are a great alternative to traditional eye glasses. But they are still considered medical devices, and misusing them can lead to dryness, discomfort or infection. Here are five ways you can keep your eyes comfortable and healthy while using contact lenses.
Keep your hands and your case clean
It is crucial to make sure you wash your hands before touching your eyes or your contact lenses. Make sure your hands are free of moisturizers or scented soaps too, which may contain chemicals or oils that can stick to contact lenses and cause discomfort.
If you use a contact lens case, make sure you clean it every day. Start by removing all old contact lens solution from the case. Never reuse old contact lens solution as it can harbor bacteria and lead to an eye infection. Then, rinse the contact lens case with fresh solution and rub the inside of the case with clean fingers. Air dry the case upside down with the caps off. Replace your contact lens case every three months.
Why take the time to disinfect your hands and cases?
Typically, when dirt or bacteria enters the eye, the body will produce tears to flush the bacteria away and keep the tissue healthy. However if bacteria gets trapped between a contact lens and the eye, it cannot be flushed away and may cause an eye infection.
Make sure you insert your contacts correctly
Before placing the contact lens on your eye, make sure it’s not inside out. How can you tell? Take a look at the lens from the side. If the lens forms a "U" with the top edges flared out, it's inside out. If it forms just a "U," it's in the correct position. If contacts are inserted inside out, you will immediately experience discomfort, but no permanent damage.
If your contacts require a cleaning solution, make sure you apply it per the product’s instructions, before putting the contact in your eye.
Make sure you put in your contact lenses before applying makeup. Choose hypoallergenic brands and make sure you brush off any excess powder before opening your eyes.
Need help learning how to put in contacts? Check out this video, or give us a call.
Don’t use your contact lenses for longer than their intended use
Contact lenses are designed to be used for as long as they are prescribed. If daily or monthly contacts are used for longer than their prescriptions, even a few days over, they can begin to act as sponges, soaking up and holding onto minerals from your eyes, or bacteria from your fingers or contact lens case. When you continue to use that old contact lens, those microbes can lead to discomfort or even serious eye infections.
Don’t sleep in your contact lenses
Throughout the day, your eyes take in oxygen to stay healthy. When you sleep, your eyes continue this oxygen intake through your tears and a gelatinous fluid called the aqueous humor.
When you sleep in your contact lenses, you create a barrier between your oxygen-giving tears and your eye. Your eyes can dry out, creating discomfort and making it difficult to remove the contact lens in the morning. Also, depriving your cornea of oxygen creates hypersensitivity and puts your eyes at a greater risk of infection or injury, like a corneal ulcer.
While some lenses are FDA-approved for overnight wear, most are designed to only be worn during the day.
Keep up with your eye exams
It’s important to make sure you keep up with regular eye exams to ensure that your prescription stays up-to-date. Typically, contact lens prescriptions are good for one year. Your eye doctors at L.O. Eye Care can help you learn better contact lens hygiene, catch infections before they worsen, and help your eyes stay healthy.
For more information on contact lens safety, call us at 800.292.1668.