Contact lenses may be a convenient alternative to eyeglasses, but they can come with some everyday annoyances like dry eyes and minor irritation. While these temporary nuisances may be hard to avoid altogether, it is possible to steer clear of some much more serious consequences of contact lenses by remembering some simple steps for contact lens care.
a closer look at some of the biggest mistakes seen among contact lens wearers so that you can build a better routine for your eye health.
Often, people who wear contact lenses will start off diligently following their optometrist’s instructions to the letter, but over time become lazy and slack off when it comes to contact maintenance. Although it can be tempting to let some of the more finicky points of contact lens care fall by the wayside, you should remember that a seemingly minor mistake could result in a serious infection with lasting damage. According to the CDC, about one in five contact lens-related corneal infections resulted in long-term vision damage, and most of these infections were avoidable in the first place. This article will offer a closer look at some of the biggest mistakes seen among contact lens wearers so that you can build a better routine for your eye health.
Sleeping with your lenses in
Even with soft contact lenses, sleeping with your contacts in can have detrimental effects on your eyes. Contacts deprive the eyes of proper oxygen exchange, so they create a somewhat sealed environment where bacteria can thrive when you sleep with lenses in. Therefore, the risk of infection is much higher when you wear contacts overnight or while napping.
Neglecting proper care and disposal
While reusing contact lens solution or touching your contact lens without first washing your hands will appear harmless, these habits can result in the transfer of a wide range of microbes that can lead to infections. You should also never attempt to extend the life of a contact lens, even by a day or two. Always dispose of your contact lenses by the recommended date, or sooner if they have been mishandled.
Avoiding regular checkups
As with any other prescription, annual checkups are essential to ensure that you are still using the right contact lenses for your needs. Regardless of your visual acuity or eye health history, you should check in with the eye doctor once every year, and always follow up with an emergency visit when you notice the signs of infection—typically redness, pain, swelling, watery or dry eyes, and itching.
Not wearing sunglasses
Contact lenses may help you see better, but they do nothing to protect your eyes from the harsh UV rays of the sun (unless specifically notated by the manufacture). So even on days when it’s cloudy, be sure to wear sunglasses to fully protect your eyes.
If you suspect that you have an infection caused by your contact lenses, you don’t have to wait for normal office hours to seek medical care. MeMD can serve as your after-hours eye health resource with medical providers available 24/7 for real-time online consultations.