There are forty-one million estimated contact lens wearers in the United States according to the CDC, and almost of all them practice at least one behavior that puts their eyes at risk.
Contacts are very convenient. You don’t have to worry about them jiggling around on your face, falling or breaking when you’re going about your day, or fogging up in adverse weather conditions.
Contacts are pretty safe as long as you take good care of them. Unfortunately, many wearers take big risks by sleeping, swimming and showering in them, and over wearing them.
Many contact lens wearers don’t realize they have an increased risk of eye infection because lenses reduce the amount of oxygen reaching the corneas. More than one-million Americans go to the doctor every year for contact lens-related eye infections.
These infections might sound like just another minor annoyance but they can damage the eye pretty quickly if left untreated.
THE DOS AND DON’TS OF CONTACT LENSES
Do Clean and Store Your Contacts Properly
Contact lenses should be cleaned in commercial contact lens solution and stored in a clean case; change the solution daily. Some people think they’re being frugal by topping off the solution instead of replacing it daily but they will spend more money in the long run treating eye infections; there are smarter ways to save money.
Additionally, never use tap water or saliva to clean your lenses because doing so increases the risk of infection.
Your vision is worth protecting.
Don’t Sleep in Them
Despite what the manufacturer says about your contacts being safe to sleep in, don’t sleep in your contacts! Oxygen is essential for eye health; wearing contacts for long hours makes it very difficult for your corneas to get adequate oxygen.
Many manufacturers claim that their contacts are approved for continuous wear for up to 30 days. Maybe. But it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your eyes.
Don’t Swim or Shower In Them
Water is a no-no when it comes to contact lenses. Lenses are like little sponges that soak up any bacteria or microbes that might be in the water. Water can also cause the lenses to swell, making them uncomfortable to wear. You can easily avoid all of these risks by removing your contacts before showering or swimming.
Run to the Doctor at the First Sign of Infection
Always be on the lookout for signs of eye infection such as redness, pain, watering, light sensitivity and blurred vision. At the first sign of infection, remove your contacts and visit the doctor immediately.
Don’t Forget Your Annual Check-Up
The fit of your contacts can change with time making them too loose or tight. An annual checkup determines if any adjustments should be made. It also gives your optometrist a chance to check the health of your corneas and blood vessels to ensure that your eyes are healthy.
Wearing contact lenses is safe and convenient as long as you take good care of them. Follow these tips to make your contacts safer and to keep your eyes healthy.