Good hygiene is crucial when it comes to caring for your eyes. This is highlighted by the fact that eye care professionals emphasize the importance of hand washing; this is a basic yet vital tool in protecting your eyes from exposure to germs or other potentially harmful substances that may travel on your hands and fingers. If you wear contacts, however, your hands aren’t the only things you need to keep clean to help protect your eyes.
While contact lenses are a favorite vision aide for many people, failing to properly care for and clean them can lead to a variety of eye infections. Depending on the type of and the severity of the infection that develops, this could cause an array of symptoms, from minor discomfort to total blindness. If you do wear contacts, you should always take care of your contact lenses to help prevent these problems and illnesses from developing. This will not only help your contacts last longer, but will ensure that your eyes and your vision remain as healthy as possible.
Naturally, one of the best ways to care for your contacts is to follow the directions that come with them – and with any relevant contact care products. Individualized directions tend to include important details that may vary from brand to brand or from type to type of contact lenses. For example, directions can help clarify the length of time you can wear your contacts, whether or not you can sleep with them, and more. However, there are also five other key care points that any contact wearer should remember to abide by:
1. Regularly review your contact care procedure with your eye doctor. While blogs like this one and Google searches can provide plenty of solid general advice, it’s important to remember that your own doctor’s input is what matters the most. This isn’t just because your doctor knows you and your needs best. It’s also because there are numerous contact care products available today, and they may not all be compatible with the particular brand or type of contact lenses you wear. So rather than risk using a product that isn’t meant to be used with your contact lenses, or even risking not using a cleaning solution that you should have at all, take the time to chat with your eye doctor during appointments. Then you can make sure you’re on the right track and using the disinfecting solution, eye drops, and cleaners that are recommended for you.
2. Always wash your hands before handling your contacts. No matter what kind of or brand of contact lenses you wear, you should never handle them without washing your hands first. Not only do you need to wash your hands, but you’ll need to avoid using oil-based or moisturizing soaps when you do so, as the residue these leave on your skin can damage your contact lenses. Antibacterial soaps, on the other hand, are recommended for use before you handle contacts. Don’t forget to dry your hands with a lint-free towel after washing them, too!
3. Use the “rub and rinse” cleaning technique. While some contact cleaning solutions are advertised as “no-rub” cleaners, it never hurts to take time to remove the build-up that naturally develops on your contacts during use. Studies have shown that rubbing your contact lenses with your fingers and rinsing them with fresh cleaning solution is the best way of cleaning contact lenses, even with “no-rub” contact lens cleaning solutions. The FDA even recommends rubbing your contacts clean! So unless you’re directly advised otherwise by your doctor, you should try to stick to this recommended cleaning routine, and should gently rub your contacts clean in the palm of your hand with cleaning solution. Do not let your nails touch your contacts when doing this, however, as this can damage them and may expose them to any hard-to-reach germs that like to lurk under your nails.
4. Only use fresh cleaning solution on your contacts. Certified contact cleaning solution is the only guaranteed cleaning aide when it comes to your contacts. Water may contain impurities and microorganisms that you don’t want to expose your eyes too, and non-approved formulas may actually damage your contacts. So when cleaning and rinsing your contacts, remember to stick to the recommend cleaning solution and only the recommend solution.
5.Take the time to care for your lenses case, too. It’s the often overlooked part of the contact lenses’ care equation: the case.Your case should be replaced at least once every 3 months. To reduce the chances of infection, immediately discard the old solution from the wells of the of the case. Then rub the case with clean fingers for at least 5 seconds, rinse with contact solution disinfecting solution, then wipe dry with a clean cloth. Never rinse contact lens case with tap water as this has been shown to increase the risk of developing severe corneal infections.
These five contact-related care steps are all easy to accidentally forget at one point or another, but are also all very important parts of your eye care if you wear contacts. While they will help ensure that your eyes stay as healthy as possible, you should still watch for signs of trouble if you use contacts. For example, if you develop eye irritation of any sort, you’ll need to remove your contacts and not use them again until you’ve met with your doctor. You should also visit your eye doctor immediately if you have any sudden vision loss, persistent blurred vision, light flashes, eye pain, infection, swelling, unusual redness, or irritation. That way, we can diagnose the problem and health resolve it as soon as possible.
Still have contact care related questions? Get in touch with us here at Everett And Hurite – we’ll happily check that everything is as it should be, and are always help you continue to see clearly long into the future.