Bad Contact Lens Habits You Should Break
Stop making these mistakes to avoid potential damage to your eyes
If you wear contact lenses, it’s important that you take proper care of them. Unlike glasses, contact lenses come into direct contact with your eyes, creating the potential for them to deliver bacteria, dust, and other harmful foreign substances to your eyes.
Here are some bad habits of contact lens wearers and why they should stop immediately.
Sleeping while Wearing Contacts
Arguably the most common risk behavior regarding contacts, sleeping in your lenses deprives your eyes of the oxygen they need to defend themselves during this vulnerable time. Getting oxygen is already a challenging task when your eyes are shut, so having a contact lens there as well is downright suffocating. Sleeping in your contact lenses also increases your chances of developing an infection, which can lead to corneal ulcers. Make sure to return your contacts to their case with fresh solution before you go to sleep or take a nap.
Swimming while Wearing Contacts
Whether you’re taking a dip in a pool or in the ocean, bodies of water are often teeming with chemicals and pathogens that can harm your eyes. These substances, being microscopic, can easily become trapped within your contact lenses and inflict damage on your eye. Keeping your contacts off or wearing goggles during a swim would significantly reduce your chances of an infection. But this precaution shouldn’t be limited to just pools and beaches. The FDA suggests that you avoid exposing your contacts to all forms of water due to how easy it is for liquid to transfer harmful substances. We strongly echo this recommendation.
Not Cleaning and Replacing the Case Regularly
Contact solution can clean your lenses, but it can’t clean itself. Eventually, foreign substances find their way into your contact case and contaminate the solution within, making it unsuitable for your lenses to soak in. You should replace the solution in your case every day to slow down the accumulation of germs, pathogens, and any other particles. Because some degree of build-up is inevitable, you should also replace your case no less than once every three months.
Touching Contacts with Unwashed Hands
Your hands are the most likely way that bacteria and other particles can get in touch with your eyes, your contacts, and your case. Unless you’ve recently sanitized your hands, there could be millions of bacteria on your fingertips right now. Putting your contacts in or taking them out with unclean hands increases your risk of contracting an eye infection by a lot. Be sure to wash or sanitize your hands each time before you touch your contacts. You should also try to break the habit of rubbing your eyes, if this is something you tend to do.
Using Liquids Other than Solution
Not everyone carries contact solution when outside their home. As a result, some people resort to using a substitute liquid for cleaning or moistening their contacts, such as tap water, purified water, and even their own saliva. As previously mentioned, you shouldn’t expose your contact lenses to any liquid other than solution, no exceptions. Despite the claims of some sources about alternatives like saline and hydrogen peroxide, these are not viable and may lead to contamination and infection.
Wearing Contacts that Need to Be Replaced
Many people believe that their contact lenses are still wearable beyond their replacement schedule as long as they’re undamaged. What they don’t know is that contact lenses in need of replacement are prone to contamination by protein deposits that accumulate over time. Old contact lenses are also at a higher risk of accruing bacteria and other infection-causing pathogens. Whether you wear contacts that are designed for daily, weekly, or monthly use, you should replace them exactly as directed unless they become damaged – in which case you should replace them as soon as possible.
Contact lenses are excellent choices for vision correction, but misusing them will do more harm than good. Our optometrists at Sterling Vision are experts at assisting patients with all of their contact lens concerns, including fittings, lens options, and general health and safety precautions. To schedule an appointment with us, call 541-262-0597 or schedule online.