Contact lenses are a great option for correcting your vision and today’s lenses are the safest and most comfortable lenses ever made. However, you can still run into problems such as infections and inflammation if you do not follow your eye doctor’s directions. Here are my top five ways to increase the safety of contact lens wear:
1) Always wash your hands prior to inserting or removing your contacts – and I don’t mean a quick little rinse under the faucet. Our hands literally touch everything and are harbingers for all sorts of bacteria and viruses. These can be easily transferred to your lenses when you are putting them in or taking them out and can lead to serious problems. Always wash your hands with warm water and soap and dry them thoroughly with a clean towel. Once they are dry, do not dry them further on your clothes or run them through your hair as this will re-contaminate your hands. This is probably the most often overlooked aspect to proper lens care and leads to the most issues.
2) Replace your lenses as prescribed by your eye care professional. Trying to save by not replacing your lenses as often as prescribed can cost you big time down the road. Lenses degrade over time due to use, cleaning, and storage – primarily with regards to the lens surface. This change to the surface of the lens is a great place for lipids and proteins to deposit which will act as food for microorganisms (not to mention diminishing the comfort of the lens). Replacement schedules are there for a reason and that reason is not for me to sell more contacts, it is to keep your eyes healthy.
3) Rub your lenses when you take them out. While many solutions still boast the “no rub” claim, most have removed that from their labeling or include a rubbing step in their directions of use. While most solutions will kill a vast majority of microorganisms on the lens from soaking it overnight, that soak will not remove the proteins and lipids that have deposited on the lens. These are prime sources of food for these microorganisms and can easily be removed by rubbing your lenses in a puddle of fresh solution for 10 seconds.
4) Stop sleeping in your lenses overnight. And if you “must” sleep in them, at least take them out once a day and clean them. Sleeping in your lenses, even the newest breathable lenses, will create hypoxic stress (lack of oxygen) on your cornea. This stress can lead to inflammation which can ruin your contact lens experience.
5) Switch to a daily disposable lens. Nothing is healthier for your eyes than a brand new, sterile, very thin lens, so why not enjoy that every day? New daily disposables are coming out every year that can correct more prescriptions – including astigmatism and multifocal options. Worried about the cost? There generally is very little difference in cost once you factor in not having to buy cleaning solutions and cases to care for your old lenses. Not to mention the convenience is unparalleled.
There you have it, my top five ways to keep your eyes healthy during contact lens wear. Prefer a video, then click here. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us or if you would like to discuss changing your current lenses, please schedule an appointment with me.