More and more people are wearing contact lenses. They’re comfortable, affordable, and convenient.
But did you know that many people still make contact lens mistakes while wearing, cleaning, and handling their contact lenses? Are you one of them?
If you currently wear contact lenses or are considering them, here are some ways to care for your lenses so you get the most life out of them.
1. Sleeping With Contact Lenses
One of the biggest reasons to handle your contacts properly is to avoid infection and preserve your eyes. You only get one pair of eyes, so caring for them is important!
While you’re sleeping, your body is working hard to recover and rejuvenate your body from the day’s activities. This includes your eyes.
Your eyes need oxygen to fight off germs and when you’re eyes are closed they do not have as much oxygen. Wearing your contacts eliminates oxygen even further, putting you at risk for infection.
2. Forgetting to Clean Your Contacts
You might think it’s ok to go a few days without cleaning your contacts, but this is far from the truth. Ignoring cleaning your contacts is one of the biggest mistakes you can make with contact lenses!
Failure to follow a cleaning schedule for your lenses results in infections, inflammation, and developing a disease called keratitis.
Keratitis is an eye infection of the cornea. It’s painful and could result in scarring.
Always follow the cleaning guidelines for your specific contacts and stick to a cleaning schedule.
3. Cleaning With Water
While it’s ok to wash your face with water, it’s not ok to clean your contacts with tap water.
The reason for this is because unfiltered water harbours bacteria and organisms that can severely harm your eye. Cleaning them with a contact solution recommended by your optometrist is best because it’s specially formulated to kill bacteria and keep your eyes safe.
You might think it’s ok to use your contact lenses past their expiration date in order to save money. While this might make sense economically, it’s not healthy for your eyes.
Lenses still accumulate bacteria and if they’re not cleaned properly or worn too much, they can cause pink eye or other infections.
Pay close attention to the expiration date on your contact lenses and don’t be swayed to keep them any longer than that.
4. Cleaning Improperly
We know that cleaning is the most important element of contact lens care, but do you know it’s how you clean that makes a difference?
Dipping your lenses in some contact solution doesn’t do the trick; there are specific cleaning protocols you need to follow in order to effectively remove bacteria and other debris from your lenses.
Here are some of the best tips:
– Always wash and dry your hands before handling your contacts to avoid transferring bacteria
– Squirt new, fresh contact solution into your hand
– Rub your contact gently between your thumb and pointer finger to clean them, and avoid your lenses coming in contact with fingernails. This is a critical step because the friction is what helps remove bacteria.
– Wash your hands again with soap and water
Each type of contact lens will have care instructions that you need to follow precisely, but these steps are vital to maintaining the health of your lenses.
5. Applying Make-Up
There are ways in which to apply your make up so it doesn’t interfere with your contacts.
Make-up particles, like ones found in powders, have a tendency to contaminate your lenses. Because the powder is loose, it’s more likely to fall onto your lenses than cream-based products.
The rule of thumb is, no matter what type of makeup you’re using, to put in your contacts before make-up applications. This is because your contacts will be in your eyes and less likely to accumulate make-up particles.
If you wear powder eyeshadow, close your eyes fully before application. And, if you’re willing, consider switching to cream-based foundations or eye shadows to avoid powder particles.
6. Showering With Contacts
Showering with contacts is a big no-no because of contact with tap water.
If your contact lenses come in contact with any kind of tap water, you risk an infection called acanthamoeba, caused by an amoeba. Water can get underneath your lens, potentially exposing your cornea to the amoeba, and this is how infection takes place. Play it safe by removing your contacts before you hop in the shower or even the bath.
Swimming should be approached with caution, so ask your optometrist if the area you wish to swim in is safe for contacts.
Overall, the only liquid your contacts should touch is contact solution.
7. Replacing Contact Solution And Case Cleaning
One of the things you need to include in your daily cleaning tasks is replacing your contact solution in your contact case. Mixing new contact solution with the old solution puts you at risk for infection as well.
Your case will need to be cleaned of bacteria as well, but don’t use tap water! Always empty out the dirty, old contact solution, rinse it with fresh solution, and turn it upside down to dry so it doesn’t collect debris.
Contact Lens Mistakes: Don’t Try These at Home!
Contact lens mistakes could result in permanent damage to your eyesight. If you wear contact lenses, be sure to manage them with great care so you can enjoy your eyesight for years to come!
Want to learn more about eye health? Our optometrists, Dr. Jade and Dr. Dave have got you covered. Visit our website to learn more about contact lenses and other eye-health topics!