How to Keep Your Sight Safe
If you are one of approximately 40 million Americans who wear contact lenses, this information is for you! Contact lenses are a fantastic, convenient, and comfortable option for vision correction – and as long as you practice good wear and care, they are safe and healthy too. However, bad contact lens safety habits can put your vision at risk.
Bad Habits Can Damage Vision
According to the CDC, more than 80% of all contact lens wearers admit to a minimum of one bad habit of wearing or caring for their lenses. In 2017, 88% of older adults, 81% of young adults, and 85% of adolescents were found guilty of unsafe practices with their contacts, as reported recently by The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. In sum, all of these people are putting their eyes at high risk for eye infections that can threaten vision.
Healthy Wear & Care Contact Lens Habits
Most contact lens-related eye infections are preventable, which is why it’s so important to be aware of what you should and should not be doing. Follow these guidelines to avoid putting your eyesight at risk:
- Before you touch your contacts, wash your hands with water and soap, and dry them well with a clean towel.
- Do not doze off in your contact lenses, unless your doctor tells you it is permitted.
- Keep your lenses away from water. It isn’t medically advised to shower while wearing contacts, use a hot tub or swim while they are in your eyes. Why? A primary reason is because of the dangerous acanthamoeba bacteria, which live in water and can cause severe eye infections. Recently, eye care specialists reported an increase in cases of acanthamoeba keratitis, and a massive 85% of the cases occurred in contact lens wearers.
- Do not wear your lenses for longer than recommended by your eye doctor. (For example, don’t try to save money by wearing single-use lenses more than once!) Pay attention to the replacement schedule for your specific contacts.
- Always put the cap back on your cleaning solution after use.
- Do not reuse disinfectant solutions or top off the used solution by adding additional fresh disinfectant.
- Rinse your contact lens storage case with a disinfecting solution, let it dry uncapped and face down on a paper towel, and replace it with a new case about every three months.
- To state the obvious: don’t forget to take your contact lenses out! As technology has advanced, contact lenses have become extremely comfortable. Recently, many optometrists have noticed that wearers simply forget to remove them.
See Your Olathe Eye Doctor
Annual eye exams are essential for contact lens wearers. This is a powerful way to prevent irreversible damage to your vision. Your eye doctor will assess the health condition of your eyes, as well as the condition of your contacts. It is not unusual for a change in disinfectant solution, type, or modality of lenses to be recommended.
Healthy contact lens wearing should not lead to redness, pain or discomfort, or problems with your vision. If you experience any of these complications, don’t wait for your yearly eye exam. Stop wearing your lenses and contact your eye care provider immediately for an appointment.