Posted by: Associates in Ophthalmology (NJ) in Eyes

Contact Lens Care: Do's and Don’ts

We’ve all been there before, rushing to get ready for work and we accidentally drop our contact lens on the bathroom floor! It becomes a mad dash of combing through the bath mat, looking under the counter, and scanning the bathroom floor. Once you find that lost contact, is it safe to put in your eye again? What’s the protocol? Anything you put in your eye, one of your most sensitive sense organs, is a delicate matter. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when handling contact lenses:

DO – Keep up with your regular eye appointments. Something many people get wrong, even with glasses, is assuming they’re covered with their existing prescription. Many optometrists suggest coming in once a year to ensure that your contact lenses are the proper prescription, and that your contacts are not too loose or tight. Additionally, an annual eye check up can reveal much more than just your eye health. Your eye exam can reveal diabetes, high blood pressure, MS, lymphoma, and much more. Your eyes are not only the window to your soul, but also your health!

DON’T – Use tap water to rinse your contact lenses. There’s a reason that you buy a special solution to clean and sanitize your contact lenses. Tap water is not sterile and contains organisms or bacteria that may cause you to develop severe eye infections. Furthermore, this means ensuring that you clean your contact lens case everyday. Don’t simply ‘top up’ the existing solution with more from the bottle, but actually rinse the case out! It’s so easy for bacteria to build up, so make sure you’re filling your case with new, fresh solution everyday.

DO – Recognize the signs of an infection. Signs and symptoms include light sensitivity, redness, pain and even blurriness. Factors that can increase your likelihood of developing an eye infection on account of contact lenses are extended wear, sleeping in your lenses, reduced tear development, environmental factors, and also poor personal hygiene and lens upkeep. The most common complication is keratitis, which is an inflammation of the cornea. It’s important if you feel you may have an infection to contact your ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

DON’T – Forget to take your contact lenses out when going to bed. As previously mentioned, sleeping with your contacts in is one of the easiest ways to develop an eye infection. Although manufacturers often say that lenses are safe to sleep in, this is not in your best interest. Contact lenses restrict oxygen flow to your eyes, which in turn, creates an unhealthy culture within your eyes.

DO – Make sure you keep a spare pair of glasses. Although you’ve made the switch to contact lenses, you never know when you might need them. If you’re ever in a situation where you don’t have enough contacts or enough solution, it’s imperative that you have an alternative means of vision. Furthermore, always make sure that your spare set of glasses contains an up to date prescription!

DON’T – Use eye drops that are not prescribed or specifically intended for people who wear contact lenses. If you must use eye drops, ensure that they are specifically for contact lenses!

DO – Put your makeup on after you put your contact lenses in. This is integral because although getting makeup in your eye is a pain, getting makeup in your eye and having it stick to your contact lens is even worse. This can lead to not only uncomfortable irritation, but it also has the potential to lead to infection. Additionally, it’s important to replace your makeup frequently. It is suggested that you do so every three months or so. Bacteria builds up on your products and can cause an infection, especially in the case of those who wear contact lenses.

DON’T – Wear damaged contact lenses. Many people think that a small rip in a lens doesn’t warrant throwing it away. Think again! A damaged or over-aged lens can scratch your eye or instigate further eye issues. Always err on the side of caution and use a new lens.

By following these simple tips you can prevent eye irritation and potential infections. The most important factor to keep in mind is regular visits to your optometrist. So, when was your last eye exam? Contact us today to schedule your next appointment!