Many people jump at the chance to wear contact lenses, sometimes to improve appearance. Not having to hunt for the spot where they put down their glasses is appealing, but contact lens wearers who fail to take proper care of their contact lenses are putting their eyesight at risk.
Here are 5 things you must never forget if you wear contact lenses:
Avoid contact with water
Soft contacts can change shape when wet, which can sometimes cause micro-abrasions on the cornea. And if that’s not horrifying enough, there’s an amoeba called Acanthamoeba that can live even in chlorinated water—and if it gets under your contacts, it can use the micro-abrasions to burrow inside your cornea, causing infection.
While rare, the infection is difficult to diagnose, and you can lose your eye. If you’re a passionate swimmer, you can always get prescription goggles. That means you should only touch your contact lenses if your hands are completely dry. Stick to solutions and drops that explicitly say “for contacts” on the bottle.
Don’t sleep while wearing them
Sleeping in your contacts can lead to infection, too. Most contact-wearers know whether they’re allowed to sleep in their specific lenses, but you might not realize how risky wearing non-approved lenses to bed can be. Because you don’t blink in your sleep, tears aren’t washing under your lenses, and your eye isn’t getting enough oxygen, both of which make it easier to get an infection.
Sleeping in your contacts can lead to complications like corneal ulcers.
Don’t put your dirty hands on them
You shouldn’t stick your dirty fingers in your eyes, period, but you definitely shouldn’t touch your contacts with them, for all of the usual reasons involving bacteria, oils, and other gross, damaging substances. You should always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before you touch your lenses.
Every once in a while, one of your contact lenses might come out in a public place. But you shouldn’t root around on the floor trying to find it and put it straight back in. Even if it means not being able to see for a while. Ideally, you should throw it away. To stay on the safe side, carry around an emergency pair of glasses or pair of disposable lenses in your bag or your car, or stash them in your desk at work.
Don’t wear them for a long time
Just because you can still see clearly out of your contact lenses doesn’t mean you should can keep using them for longer than you’re supposed to. If you wear your daily-use or weekly-use contacts for a month, it may lead to scarring of the cornea and loss of vision.
Daily disposable lenses, for instance, made of a thinner material than contacts designed for longer use, and they’re not made to allow the right amount of oxygen and moisture into your eye for an entire month.
You also need to take care of your lens case. To cut the bacteria and fungi that build up on the case, you need to rinse it out regularly with solution, then leave it open and upside down to dry .
Don’t wear a ripped lens
Besides being uncomfortable, there’s a more serious reason to immediately toss a torn lens, even if it means being unable to see for the rest of the day.
The jagged edge of the ripped lens can scratch your cornea.
And because the lens won’t hold its regular shape, it won’t fit against your eye the same way. And is more likely to move around and tear further, leaving you with bits of contact lens in your eye.
Thus, if you are not careful, contact lenses can cause major eye problems. It is important to keep your eyes safe. You should talk to your eye doctor about keeping your eyes healthy and comfortable while you wear contacts. Find out if contacts are the ideal solution for you!