Although contact lenses are among the safest form of vision correction, if the proper eye care measures are neglected, contact lenses can cause damage to your eyes.
One of the most important eye care elements in relation to contact lenses is improper lens hygiene. Improper lens hygiene substantially increases the risk of eye infection, corneal ulcers, parasites and even blindness. A survey at the University of Texas revealed that less than one percent of contact lens users were doing everything right. The other 99% tended to take shortcuts when it came to proper storage, changing saline solution in overnight containers, or just topping off the solution. Estimates also suggest that about 80 to 90 percent of lens cases have some form of bacterial contamination.
Consider the following advice when cleaning and wearing contact lenses:
- Clean and disinfect your lenses when you remove them.
- Be sure to wash your hands before handling contact lenses, avoiding soaps with perfumes or oils.
- Never use tap water directly on lenses, since even distilled water contains microorganisms.
- Never use your mouth to rinse your lenses.
- Clean lenses by rubbing them gently with your fingers and rinsing them again. Apply the “rub and rinse” method even when using “no rub” multipurpose solution.
- Don’t let the tip of a saline solution bottle touch other surfaces, to keep from contaminating the solution.
- Use a disinfecting solution or multipurpose solution to disinfect lenses, not a regular saline solution.
- Always use clean solution and never use old solution to “top off” the solution in the lens case.
- Don’t transfer solution into travel size containers, since this can compromise sterility.
- Rinse the contact case with fresh saline solution, replacing the lens case regularly, at least every three months, to keep out bacteria.
- Never sleep in your lenses unless you’ve been prescribed “extended wear contacts,” since lenses reduce oxygen flow to the eye.
- Never wear another person’s contact lenses, which is an easy way to spread infections.
- Remove your lenses before swimming or entering a hot tub.
- Never wear lenses more than 30 days after first opening them, to protect your corneas from sight-threatening damage.
- Be sure to get regular eye examines to keep your prescription up to date.
If you develop eye irritation, take out your lenses, and don’t reuse them without talking to an eye care professional. If you experience persistent blurred vision, light flashes, swelling, infection, unusual redness, irritation, eye pain or sudden vision loss, see your eye doctor immediately.
For more advice on proper contact lens hygiene, please contact our eye care specialists at 877-871-1684.
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