Don’t do this with Your Contact Lenses
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In Canada 8 in 10 people 18-55 years of age wear eyeglasses, and 3 in 10 wear contact lenses
If you’re one of the 12 million Canadians who wears contact lenses, you may want to read on…
Chances are you have at least one bad lens care habit that could lead to serious eye infections, even blindness.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 99 percent of contact lens wearers surveyed reported at least one behavior that puts them at risk for a contact lens related eye infection.
The most common behavior isn’t what we do with our contact lenses, but what we do with our lens care solutions.
Don’t forget to clean your case.
Cleaning and disinfecting the contact lens isn’t all you should concern yourself with – your case can be a pathological vector for disease.
Disinfecting your case is equally as important. Don’t introduce your newly cleaned, sterile lens back to a germy cesspool of hostile bugs! Simply rub and clean your case with some solution to solve the problem.
Don’t reuse solution.
After you ‘pop’ in your lenses, throw out the residual solution. People often just top it off with some fresh solution; here’s the ‘rub’ – this is a no-no! Toss it, wash, rub and rinse the case, and let it air dry.
Don’t forget to wash your hands.
While this shouldn’t need to be said, diligence in washing your hands before handling your contact lenses is a must. This family of eye infections (due to improper lens handling) can be very serious.
Don’t sleep with your contact lenses.
The next grave mistake is sleeping in your lenses, most people don’t know that the risk is the same whether the contact lenses are overnight approved or not!
Sleeping with contact lenses is the number one cause of corneal ulcers that may lead to corneal transplants and even blindness. Think about it, when you shut your eyes, you’re actually creating an ideal environment for germs and other pathogens to thrive.
Don’t wear your lenses for too long
Your cornea is one of the most demanding tissues in your entire body for oxygen and food (sugar). Contacts, regardless of their permeability strangle the eye’s ability to access this critical nourishment.
Moreover, keeping this barrier on your eyes for extended periods of time offers more opportunity for microorganisms to bore down into your cornea and start feeding on it.
Don’t wear your lenses longer than prescribed.
How long should you wear two-week contact lenses? How about two weeks? If you want to wear them for a month – then buy monthly lenses!!
Don’t swim with your contact lenses in – just don’t do it.
This includes the ocean, lakes, swimming pools, hot tubs, and even the shower. Contacts are great at trapping germs in the water against your corneas and creating the perfect ‘petri dish’ for pathogens to flourish and yes, this even includes chlorinated pools – which also can further irritate your eyes by locking the chlorine under the lens against the cornea.
Don’t share your contacts lenses.
Especially now with cosmetic, decorative and ‘Halloween’ lenses, there has been a spike in ER visits due to people sharing their contacts. We all know the dangers of swapping bodily fluids right? This is no different.
Don’t purchase contact lenses without a prescription (from an eye doctor).
I’ve actually seen contact lenses for sale in the most bizarre venues. At the dollar store, novelty shops, and even flea markets. Bizarre is right, I’ve even seen them at what I define as ‘Third World” Bizarres! Don’t you want to know what you’re putting in your eye? Your cornea is far too delicate to expose it to a hodge-podge of unknown materials.
Contact lenses have become so convenient that we forget they can lead to corneal ulcers, infections, transplants and even blindness.
Contact lens complications lead to over 100,000 Canadian clinic and emergency room visits annually.
To maintain good eye health while wearing contact lenses, make sure you stick to these “Don’ts”!
Dr. Alan R. Boyco, President, CEO, IMAGEoptometry