An estimated 36 million Americans wear contacts on a daily basis. Contacts are one of the safest and most comfortable forms of vision correction – most of the time. Contact wearers could potentially damage their eyes if they don’t properly care for their contact lenses. Here are a few critical tips to ensure you’re taking the best care of your lenses and eyes possible.
1 – Keep Your Lenses Clean
The most important part of contact care is to ensure that they’re kept clean. Before handling your lenses (putting them in or taking them out), be sure to wash your hands. From restaurant menus to doorknobs, pets to handshakes, we touch countless things on a daily basis. Germs and bacteria thrive on our hands, and they could damage your eyes unless you wash your hands before handling your contacts. It’s important to avoid washing with soaps infused with perfume or lotion, as this can leave a film on your hands.
To keep your lenses clean, it’s important to actually wash them. Even if you use a no-rub solution, it’s best to physically clean your contact lenses to rid them of any oil and dirt before storing them for the night. Taking the time to clean your contacts makes a major difference in how clean your lenses actually are.
2 – Keep it Fresh
Even if you wash your hands before cleaning your contact lenses on a daily basis, your contact case will inevitably get old and dirty. It’s recommended that you switch to a new case every three months. This ensures that bacteria don’t have the time to fester and infect your storage area. Each time you switch to a new case, be sure to wash it out with contact solution before your first use. This will disinfect it and ensure safe use.
Be sure that you never re-use old solution or transfer contact solution to smaller travel-size containers. When solution leaves its original case, its sterility has been affected. This could potentially lead to an eye infection. If you don’t wear your contacts for a few days, be sure to change out the contact solution to keep the lenses fresh.
Furthermore, be sure to change out your contacts as recommended by your doctor. Many contact wearers try to extend the life of their contacts by wearing them longer than prescribed. Calcium and dirt build-up can become irritating and even harmful to the eye. It’s critical to change out your contacts as instructed.
3 – Avoid Swimming and Smoking
It’s generally recommended that you don’t swim with your contacts in your eyes. Bacteria and chlorine in pool water can get trapped beneath the lens, leading to infection. Similarly, smoking can irritate your eyes and result in eye problems that nonsmokers don’t experience.
Most importantly, it’s critical to keep your prescription current and follow-up with your eye doctor as recommended. Some eye care professionals offer more specialized services, including options with implantable contact lenses, if you are interested in getting rid of your contact lenses. They work to help you take care of and learn more about your eyes and a healthy vision.