Contact Lens Health Starts with You!
Contact lenses are one of the most effective ways of correcting refractive eye errors and ensuring that our vison is as clear and concise as possible. Sitting directly onto the tear film on the surface of the eyes, once your contact lenses are in place, they provide convenient clarity of vision all day long. More than 45 million Americans rely on contact lenses to correct their eyesight and this number is expected to grow over the coming years.
As a contact lens wearer, it is your responsibility to keep your eyes healthy. Unfortunately, wearing contacts can increase your risk of getting an eye infection. This is because placing and removing contacts requires you to make direct contact with both your lenses and eyes. As such, it is essential that you carefully follow specific guidelines to care for your contact lenses and eyes.
Why is contact lens health so important?
Many people don’t realize it, but the eyes provide a direct pathway for harmful microorganisms to enter our bodies. This is because our eyes contain mucous membranes. Mucous membranes line many tracts and structures of the body, including the mouth, nose, and eyes. In the eyes, the mucous membrane lines the inside of the eye and covers the white part, called the conjunctiva.
Some contagious diseases are spread directly when the skin or mucous membrane comes into contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. What this means is that if we don’t take the necessary precautions when touching our eyes, we could potentially transfer harmful microorganisms to the mucous membranes and contract an infectious disease.
Fortunately, by following very specific guidance on how to properly clean, wear and store your contact lenses, and being particularly committed to hand hygiene, you can reduce your risk of developing eye infections or other illnesses.
Top tips for contact lens health
Your contact lens provider will give you very specific instructions relating to the best way to care for your contact lenses and eyes, and this should be strictly adhered to. However, over time many patients become a little too relaxed in their eye care routine and this can lead to lapses that put the health of their eyes at risk.
Here are our top tips for healthy contact lens habits.
Wash your hands
Washing your hands is the single, most important thing that you can do to keep your eyes healthy. Wash them with soap and warm water before handling your lenses, before placing them into your eyes and before taking them out again. Once washed, dry them properly using a clean, lint-free cloth before touching your lenses.
Don’t swim or shower with your contacts in
Any germs that may be found in water could get into your eyes through your contact lenses. As such, your provider will recommend that you remove your contacts before swimming and showering for optimal eye health.
Clean your contact lenses properly
Unless you opted for disposable lenses, you will need to clean your contacts every day. Always use contact lens disinfecting solution and soak them for the recommended amount of time. You should also be sure to change the solution each time, rather than topping up the one used the previous day.
Clean your contact lens case
There’s no point cleaning your contact lenses if you don’t also ensure that the case is clean. Again, this should be done using your contact lens solution to prevent any cross-contamination, and once you have thoroughly cleaned it, rinse and dry with a clean tissue. Then store it upside down with the caps off to prevent any fluid accumulating inside. Most contact lens providers recommend that cases are replaced every three months.
Don’t sleep in your contact lenses
Unless you have been specifically advised to (such as if you are using corneal reshaping lenses), you should never wear your contacts while you sleep. In fact, research has found that doing so could massively increase your risk of developing an eye infection.
If you would like more information about contact lens health and the best way to look after your eyes, please contact us to schedule an appointment with our expert eyecare team.