Good eye care is a must when wearing contact lenses.

Those with eyesight issues, whether they're major or minor, have a few correcting options to help them see clearly. While glasses are an option for many, contact lenses have stepped up to be one of the other more popular choices. It's estimated that roughly 40 million Americans wear contact lenses. Contacts can free up one's face and can be easy to insert and remove from the eye, but they can also cause quite a few problems when not properly taken care of. Fortunately, knowing how to care for your contacts - and how to watch for potential problems - can help you see clearly for a while to come.

Be Aware of Risk Behaviors

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016, six out of every 7 contact lens wearers reported at least one behavior that could put them at risk for lense-related eye infections. This includes both adult and adolescent contact lens wearers, but adolescents were more likely to indulge in a bad habit. When done frequently, many of these behaviors can lead to long-term issues, such as eye infections that potentially lead to blindness. These are some risk behaviors that could be problematic:

  • Wearing contact lenses while sleeping or napping
  • Replacing lenses at longer intervals than prescribed
  • Not making annual visits to the eye doctor
  • Swimming in contact lenses
  • Storing or rinsing lenses in tap water
  • Mixing old contact lens solutions with new ones

Ending Bad Habits

Here are some recommended safe practices to correct some of the bad habits many contact lens wearers may have developed.

  • Many of the risk behaviors listed above involve exposing contact lenses to bacteria and microorganisms, such as pool water or tap water. Contact lenses must be stored and handled in an approved contact lens solution, which will destroy any bacteria that could cause real damage to your eyes.
  • As for mixing solutions, this may not seem harmful, but it's more trouble than it's worth. When you top off an old contact solution with a new one, the solution that has been sitting in the case could chemically react and lead to an eye infection if done frequently. Always clean out your case before filling it with a new solution.
  • When it comes to sleeping or napping, this is often ignored for contact lens wear. Always remove contact lenses when you’re about to sleep or nap unless your doctor tells you otherwise. This bad habit can put stress on the cornea, which reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches the eyes. Less oxygen to the eye increases the risk of painful or vision-threatening infections.
  • Making yearly visits to the eye doctor, especially if you've been having issues with contact lenses, is one of the best ways to catch an infection or develop vision problems early. Your doctor may ask you if you have been guilty of any of these habits, and it's best to be honest with them so they can provide the best solution for you.

Proper Contact Lens Care

  • Always wash your hands before handling your contact lenses. This will help prevent bacteria from transferring to the lenses and then into your eyes.
  • Follow the prescribed replacement schedule for your contact lenses. Wearing them beyond their recommended time frame can increase the risk of eye infections.
  • Remove, clean, and store contact lenses properly according to the instructions provided by your eye doctor.
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses while swimming or participating in water activities. If you must, safely wear contact lenses using airtight goggles, and clean and disinfect the lenses afterward.
  • Replace your contact lens case at least every three months to avoid bacteria buildup.
  • Never sleep with your contact lenses on unless specifically instructed by your eye doctor. If you do, follow the proper guidelines for safe contact lens use during sleep.
  • Stop wearing your contact lenses immediately if you experience any discomfort or irritation. Contact your eye doctor for further instructions.

Keep Your Eyes Healthy with Everett and Hurite

Good care for your contact lenses is crucial to maintaining the health of your eyes. By avoiding risk behaviors and following proper contact lens care systems, you can continue to enjoy clear vision without risking infections or long-term damage to your eyes. Remember to visit your eye doctor for your regularly scheduled contact lens and eye examination.

If you’re guilty of any of these risky behaviors, it’s time to put a stop to them as soon as possible. Habits can be hard to break, but with serious eye infections and even healthy vision on the line, it’s time to make your eye health a priority over convenience.

At Everett and Hurite,our staff can assist you with questions and any other eye concerns you may have about contact lens health or best practices for taking care of your eyes. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of contact lens materials are available?

There are several types of contact lens materials, including soft hydrogel lenses, silicone hydrogel lenses, rigid gas permeable lenses, and hybrid lenses. Each material has unique properties and benefits. Your eye doctor can recommend the best option for your individual needs.

Can I switch contact lens materials if I am not satisfied with my current ones?

Yes, you can switch to a different contact lens material if you are not satisfied with your current ones. However, it is important to consult with your eye doctor before making any changes to ensure the new material is suitable for your eyes and prescription.

How often should I be replacing my contact lenses?

It is important to follow the prescribed replacement schedule for your specific type of contact lens. This can vary based on factors such as the material used and how frequently you wear them. Generally, soft contact lenses should be replaced every 1-2 weeks, while gas-permeable lenses can last up to a year with proper care and cleaning. Consult with your eye doctor for the best replacement schedule for you.

Can I use any type of solution for my contact lenses?

No, it is important to use the recommended contact lens care system for your specific type of lenses. Different materials and brands of contact lenses may require different solutions, so be sure to follow the instructions provided by your eye doctor.