Contact Lens Safety
By Katiee Harmon
If you wear contacts, chances are your eye doctor has gone over contact lens safety with you. Sometimes we get so caught up in our day to day that those little things can slip our minds. How many times have you extended the wear of your 2 week or monthly lens? We see it all the time and we get it, life gets busy. But if you want to continue to wear contacts for many years down the road, you need to keep your eyes healthy and that can be done easily by remembering some important facts about contact lens safety…
Like not wearing contacts longer than directed.
Extending the wear of your contact lenses can lead to a number of ocular complications that range from mild infections to more serious problems, including vision loss. The longer you are wearing your contacts, the longer you are depriving your cornea of oxygen, which in turn can cause corneal edema – swelling of the cornea; neovascularization – abnormal blood vessel growth; and corneal ulcers which can lead to infection and possible vision loss.
Make sure you’re not inserting a torn or defective lens.
Inserting a torn or defective lens can cause abrasions on the surface of the eye. You’re probably wondering how that can happen if you wear soft lenses, right? Well, when you’re blinking, the contact moves slightly which can cause that tear or defect in the lens to scrape against the surface of the eye. Sounds painful, huh?
Cleaning your contacts and case.
If you wear 2 week or monthly contact lenses then you should be cleaning them when you take them out and before putting them into the case, which should also be clean and have fresh solution in it. Proteins, calcium, lipids and other substances that are found naturally in our tears can build up on our contact lenses which can then cause them to be uncomfortable and make your eyes more prone to infection. Cleaning them is easy- after removing you just rub the lens in the palm of your hand for 30-60 seconds using your contact lens solution. Make sure to wash your contact lens case monthly by just placing it in your dishwasher, and replace the case every 3 months.
Don’t sleep in your contacts!
Unless of course you are wearing contacts that are meant for sleeping in, but even then you do want to make sure you are removing them at some point to give your eyes a chance to breathe. A simple 3-1-3 wear schedule should do the trick. What’s the 3-1-3 wear schedule? Wear the contacts for 3 days/nights, remove for 1 day/night and wear again for 3 days/nights. Sleeping in your contacts, that aren’t meant for sleeping in, just brings us back to the first point and what can happen if you over wear/extend your contact lens wear.
Keeping your eyes healthy is easy! It just takes following these simple daily habits.