Along with eyeglasses, contact lenses are among the safest and most effective forms of corrective eyewear. Millions of Americans benefit from clearer vision thanks to contact lenses. That said, failing to handle and care for your contact lenses properly can increase your risk of developing an infection.
Whether you’ve been wearing contact lenses years or have only recently begun wearing them, it never hurts to remind yourself of the rules for proper handling of them. In this article, we examine the most common mistakes contact lens wearers make. But first, let’s discuss whether contact lenses are even a good choice for you.
Are Contact Lenses Right for You?
Contact lenses provide many benefits, but they aren’t for everyone. Depending on your lifestyle, overall health and particular vision challenges, contact lenses may or may not be the best choice.
The easiest way to determine whether you’re a good candidate for contact lenses is to consult your eye doctor in Woodbridge, VA. Only an experienced eye care specialist can evaluate your overall visual health and determine what type of vision correction would be best for you. In general, if you’re healthy and a pair of contact lenses won’t compromise your vitality in any way, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try them, even if it’s just for cosmetic purposes.
However, if you have certain health conditions, then there may be a few considerations that need to be addressed. Consult your eye doctor regarding contact lenses use if you experience any of the following conditions:
- Chronic dry eye disease
- Eye problems
- Viral infections
Bad Contact Lens Habits That Need to Be Stopped
Once you’ve gotten the green light from your optometrist to wear contact lenses, it’s time to educate yourself about bad contact lens habits.
Wearing Contacts Longer Than Advised
Some types of contact lenses can be worn for several weeks or even months, while others need to be disposed of after a single use. Make sure you understand what type of contact lenses you have and how often you need to replace them. It is critical that you adhere to the replacement schedule for your particular contact lenses. If you know you’re going to be performing an activity or participating in a task that would leave you with no choice but to wear your contacts for longer than recommended, it’s best to go with the safer alternative and just wear eyeglasses instead.
Failing to follow the rules regarding replacement of your contact lenses is dangerous as it can lead to infection. In addition, wearing your contact lenses for too long, i.e., overnight, can also harm your eyes. If you have any questions about proper handling and wearing of your contact lenses, don’t hesitate to ask your eye doctor.
Sleeping With Your Contacts On
When it’s time for bed, don’t forget to remove your contact lenses, no matter how tired you are. If you know you’re going to be out late, keep your contact lens case and specialized cleaning solution with you on the go so you can remove your contact lenses even before you feel the urge to call it a day.
If you wear your contact lenses daily and only remove them at night before bed, it’s much more convenient to have your contacts case and cleaning solution by your nightstand or bedroom vanity for easy access. Just make sure the area is well lit so you can see if you’re removing your contact lenses properly.
Not Washing Your Hands Before Handling Your Contact Lenses
Regular handwashing is always important, but it becomes especially critical whenever you’re handling your contact lenses. It’s imperative that you make sure that your hands are clean before touching your lenses so you don’t expose your eyes to bacteria that could lead to infection. If running water isn’t available, non-alcoholic wet wipes (baby wipes are great for this) can work in a pinch.
Not Cleaning Your Contact Lens Case
Just as you have to keep your hands clean when handling your lenses, you also have to make sure that the case that you store them in is clean. Ideally, you should change your contact lens storage case every three months or however often you change your contact lens cleaning solution. It’s also important to know how to keep the storage case clean. Here are three easy steps to follow:
- When not in use (read: when you’re wearing your contact lenses), drain the remaining cleaning solution from the case. Never re-use the cleaning solution as this can lead to eye infections.
- Using a clean hand, rinse the case with the contact solution and rub the hollow part with your fingers. Make sure you clean out the grimy parts, especially in between the grooves of the twist cap.
- Air-dry the case upside down without putting the cap on.
Re-Using Dried-Out Contact Lenses
Picture this: you’ve been looking forward to attending your college reunion. You’ve got the perfect outfit picked out and you think it will look even better if you wear your contact lenses instead of your eyeglasses. But as luck would have it, you find that your contact lenses have dried up in their case. Do you rehydrate your shriveled-up contact lenses and hope for the best, or just wear your trusty eyeglasses instead?
The answer actually depends on the situation. If the damage to your contacts is too severe (read: torn edges), then you’re better off wearing your eyeglasses. But if you soak your lenses in contact lens solution and your eyes didn’t get irritated after putting them on, then you’re probably good to go. However, you should remove your contact lenses the minute you experience any pain, burning or itching.
A Better Look
Contact lenses can make your life easier if you know how to wear and handle them properly. Always keep in mind that your eyes are very sensitive and require care. So the next time you’re preparing to begin or end your day, remember to avoid these bad habits. Clearfinity Eyecare Optometrist is your primary eye health care provider in the area. You can count on us for all your vision care needs.
Call us today at (703) 293-5222 to schedule an appointment with any of our friendly and skilled eye care practitioners.