By Andrew Hickey on Aug 31, 2022 @ 12:39 PM
Contact lenses may be an everyday accessory for some; however, it is crucial to wear them properly to keep your eyes healthy. Avoid the harmful risks associated with improper contact care by following these seven simple tips.
- Keep your lenses clean
First, when wearing contact lenses: keep them clean. There may be places to cut corners throughout your day but washing your hands before putting in your contacts is not one of them. Make sure you are properly washing your hands and tipping each lens into your hand to put them in. Digging your finger into the packaging can dirty the solution or cause the lens to rip. By tipping the lens into your hand, you can pick it up and place it into your eye without trouble.
- Only buy from a reputable source
Contact lenses are a form of eyecare and should be treated as such. Do not buy lenses from suspicious or questionable websites, as quality is everything when it comes to keeping your eyes healthy. Ask your eye doctor or a trusted healthcare professional about where you can order your contact lenses. Especially when it comes to non-prescription or prescription colored contact lenses to spice up your everyday look, order from a reputable retailer that can guarantee quality. Your eyes will be able to tell the difference in lens quality, and you want to avoid irritation, dry eyes, and infections whenever possible.
- Do not sleep in contacts
We’ve said it once (or twice) before and we’ll say it again: do not sleep in your contact lenses. Your eyes depend on oxygen flow to function, and with your contacts in and your eyes closed, there is little to no airflow. Not only does this cause dryness and irritation, but also increases your risk of more serious corneal infections. Allow your eyes a little break at night and make sure to remove your contacts before bed. If you really struggle to remember, set an alarm or reminder on your phone, or place your contact case on your bedside table.
- Replace as needed
Whether you use daily, bi-weekly, or monthly contacts, it is important to recognize when it is time for a fresh new set. Especially for daily contact wearers, try not to extend your contact life past its single-use expiration. Say you only wore your contacts for half the day, so you think you will be fine to squeeze in one more day. We have all been there, and it is best not to push it. Daily contact lenses are meant to be thrown away after a single use, short and long days alike. Reusing daily contacts can cause corneal infections like conjunctivitis (pink eye) and keratitis, both of which are avoidable if you wear your lenses properly.
- Take them out before swimming or showers
One of the biggest mistakes when wearing contacts is thinking “a little water will not hurt.” Water does the opposite of lubricating your lens and causes it to swell and stick to your eye. Not only that, but water can stick to bacteria, which puts your eyes in jeopardy of infections. Because of this, avoid wearing your contacts while swimming or even taking a shower. The last thing you want is the bacteria from a public beach or chemicals in a swimming pool getting onto your lenses. Keep your eyes healthy, give them a chance to breathe, and take your lenses out before going in the water.
- Give your eyes a break
Speaking of letting your eyes breathe, another thing to be mindful of is how often you wear your contacts. Compared to glasses, contacts are a convenient and hassle-free eyewear option. However, it is important to make sure to give your eyes a break occasionally.
A good rule of thumb is to swap contacts out for glasses once a week. This gives your eyes a little breather while also giving you the added benefits of glasses. Especially on the heavy screen time days, glasses may be the way to go to avoid dry and uncomfortable contact lenses.
- Use eye drops when needed
As we have already covered here, water and saliva are not clean or healthy lubricants to keep your contacts moisturized. Did you think your contact solution was a better alternative? Wrong. Contact solution is not meant to be applied directly to the eye and contains cleaning compounds that can cause infections and eye damage. If you are struggling with dry eyes or irritation, it is time to try a rewetting eyedrop for more comfortable and healthy wear. This is the safest and most effective option to keep your eyes clean and hydrated throughout the day.
For the avid contact lens wearer and newbies alike, rely on these seven tips to prioritize your eye health. Make sure to visit your optometrist, keep your prescription up to date, and keep your eyes and contacts clean!