Those with eyesight issues, whether they’re major or minor, have a few correcting options for helping 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 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 lense wearers reported at least one behavior that could put them at risk for lense-related eye infections. This includes both adult and adolescent contact lense 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 lense solutions with new ones
Ending Bad Habits
In order to correct some of the bad habits many contact lens wearers may have developed, here are some recommended safe practices.
- 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 approved contact 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, always remove your contact lenses 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 developing 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.
If you’re guilty of any of these risk 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 lense health or best practices for taking care of your eyes. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!