The week of August 20-24, 2018, is National Contact Lens Health Week, and the focus is developing healthy habits for healthy eyes. Contact lenses are worn by about 41 million adults in the United States, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of contact lens wearers do things that put them at risk for serious eye infections.
At Paragon Eye Associates, we care about your eyes and want to help you keep them healthy. To that end, we’ve put together 10 tips to help you avoid infections related to contact lenses.
Take your lenses out while you sleep
Even though some contacts are marketed as being okay to sleep in, it’s not a healthy habit. Your lenses limit the amount of oxygen that can get to your eyes, so it’s a good idea to give them a break while you sleep.
Soft contact lenses are especially dangerous to wear for long periods, because they create the perfect conditions for pathogens to grow. Even if you use extended wear lenses, it’s a good idea to take them out at night.
If you’re a swimmer and a contact lens wearer, you should be extra cautious. It’s easy to forget that your contacts are in, but doing so can be dangerous. Water carries all sorts of pathogens that can become trapped under your lens and cause an infection.
It doesn’t matter if you’re swimming in a pool, the ocean, a river, or any other body of water. Even tap water contains pathogens that are dangerous when it comes to your contacts.
Take your contacts out when you shower
All water, even the water you shower in, should be kept away from your contact lenses. Even though your tap water is probably safe to drink, it’s not safe to get in your eyes when you’re wearing your contacts.
Sleeping, swimming, and showering are sometimes called “the three S’s” because they’re the top three things that you should be careful about when it comes to your contacts. Just not wearing your contacts during those three activities will reduce your risk of infection.
Wash and dry your hands
It’s critically important to wash and dry your hands before you handle your contacts. Even if you washed your hands 15 minutes before, wash them again before putting your lenses in or taking them out.
Don’t be stingy with your solution
It may seem wasteful to get new solution each night to soak your lenses, but it’s really not. Many people reuse the solution for several nights, or add a bit each night to top off the solution in their case.
You’ll be much safer completely emptying your lens case and adding new solution each day, and it really doesn’t take much more. When you’re not using your case, you should empty it, and store it open upside down so that it can dry.
Follow the cleaning solution instructions
Whatever type of solution you use — and it’s a good idea to discuss what’s best for your specific situation with your doctor — follow the instructions on how to use it. Although most solutions are similar, there are differences in how long your lenses should soak to best eliminate bacteria and other pathogens.
Get a new case often
You probably don’t pay much attention to the case your lenses are in when you’re not wearing them, but it’s a critical component in keeping your contacts clean and safe. You should get a new case at least every three months.
Follow the replacement schedule
It can be tempting to try to make each set of lenses last just a little longer, but it’s a bad idea. Even if you’re scrupulous about cleaning your lenses and their case, they’re only designed to last a certain length of time. The savings you may get from wearing your lenses longer than you should are not worth the risk of infection.
Keep a pair of glasses for backup
Carry a pair of glasses along on trips, or keep a pair in your purse or in your car. You may need to remove your lenses for some reason, and having a pair of glasses with the correct prescription could be a lifesaver.
See your doctor regularly
Regular appointments with us at Paragon Eye Associates will insure that your prescription is up to date, that you’re using the best lenses for your situation, and that your questions regarding hygiene are answered.
If it’s time for your eye checkup or you need new contact lenses, book your appointment online or by phone today.