How Do You Take Care of Contact Lenses? | VAL-Uvision Jacksonville Eye Doctors
There is so much that the health of your eyes can tell you about your overall health. Taking proper care of your contact lenses is just as important as maintaining your own eye health.
Unfortunately, it is not something many contact lens wearers think about, let alone actively keep up with.
People who wear contact lenses have a higher risk for eye infections such as keratitis, pinkeye, or conjunctivitis. That’s why it’s especially important to practice good contact lens care.
If you already wear contact lenses, then you’ve probably already been lectured on this by your local optometrist near you about this, but this is especially important for contact lens wearers.
Keep reading to learn more about contact lens safety and tips to keep your eyes healthy.
Do you clean your contacts before putting them in?
The answer is it depends.
- If you wear daily disposable contact lenses like Dailies, no additional cleaning is necessary. Disposable contact lenses come in a solution that is sterile, thereby making it safe to put in the eye without rinsing in additional solution. But always make sure to wash, rinse and dry your hands before putting them in (see below).
- For extended wear contact lenses wearers (overnight, bi-weekly, monthly), then yes, cleaning your contact lenses before putting them in is a must. Do not put in the contact lenses without cleaning the contact lenses. Follow the steps below.
How do you properly clean contact lenses?
Follow the “rinse and rub” method.
You might think that you’re cleaning your contacts properly but a recent study at UT Southwestern Medical Center discovered that only 34% of contact lens wearers actually were cleaning their contacts properly.Make sure to follow the steps below if you wear reusable contacts:
- 1. Before putting your contacts in, wash your hands with soap (preferably non-perfumed, anti-bacterial liquid soap), rinse and dry your hands with with a lint-free towel.
- 2. Clean your contacts with fresh saline solution with the “rinse and rub” method. During cleaning, rub your contact lenses in the palm of one hand using the clean fingers of the other hand; then rinse each lens with sterile contact lens solution (not tap water) before soaking them.
So, what are other do’s and dont’s to clean your contacts? Here are a few tips to get you started:
The survey discovered that most people “top off” their contact lens solution — don’t do that!
This means instead of cleaning out the contact lens case and using new solution, most people tend to pour in new solution on top of old solution in order to fill it up quickly and clean their contacts. This can lead to bacteria mixing in with the newer, clean solution that was poured in from the previously used solution. This can lead to that same bacteria going straight into your eyes.
If you happen to be out of contact lens solution, don’t try to substitute with something else!
It might be common sense, but another survey by Bausch & Lomb discovered that some people will use alternatives to eye solution instead of contact solution from their eye doctor or vision shop. Of course, anything other than contact lens solution is going to cause problems with both your eyes and your contacts.
Try to disinfect your contact lenses every day for the best in contact lens safety.
This means more than just cleaning them off and putting them in. Doing a full disinfecting routine at least daily means the healthiest eyes you can have as well as having your contacts last longer. Speaking of, also try to avoid swimming or showering with your contacts as this can lead to bacteria and fungus to start forming on them.
Don’t forget about your actual contacts case!
This also needs to be cleaned and disinfected properly or you’ll still have to deal with possible bacterial infections or fungus residing within the case and getting on your contacts. Cleaning out your case can be a weekly task, but ideally it should be done daily along with disinfecting your contacts and switching out your solution.
Dailies contact lenses are a great option to consider if you struggle with properly keeping your contacts clean. They are the healthiest contact lens option because you throw them out at the end of the day and start fresh every morning, eliminating the need to clean them.
Never Sleep In Your Contacts
While some types of contact lens companies promise in their advertisements that you can sleep in their contacts without having to worry about problems when you wake up, vision experts still advise that you don’t sleep in your lenses. While contact lens technology has certainly changed over the years and has even improved, you’re still limiting the oxygen flow to your eyes and that can cause irritation and eye pain when you wake up. Not to mention sleeping in your contacts can lead to wearing them out faster and having to replace them sooner.
Always Have Backup Glasses
Sure, you have your contacts, but do you have any backup plans if you suddenly lose a contact or even ruin your current set by accident? That’s why it is good to have a backup pair of glasses just in case otherwise, you won’t be able to see and will have to wait for new contacts to come in. Having backup contacts is another option but having a pair of glasses that can last you a couple years is a much better option during those “what if” scenarios. (And they happen more often than you think!)
There are other do’s and don’ts to your contact lenses but these so happen to be the most common in terms of the best contact lens safety you can guarantee for your health. Your contacts are important because they help you see every single day, so why neglect them or not use the proper safety tips to ensure they last as long as possible?
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