The CDC estimates that 45 million people in the United States wear contact lenses for vision correction. Wearing contact lenses offers many benefits, including a more natural appearance, not having to deal with eyeglass lenses fogging up or getting wet in the rain, and enjoying more freedom of movement while playing sports or engaging in physical activity.
Unlike eyeglasses, though, contact lenses sit directly on the eyes, so to wear them successfully, patients must commit to taking proper care of their contact lenses to avoid developing irritation, discomfort, and even serious infections.
Dr. Joel Hayden at Hayden Optometric is experienced in fitting patients in the right contact lenses so that patients experience visual clarity and comfort while wearing their contacts. If you wear contact lenses, it is vital to follow your doctor’s instructions on how long you should wear them, and if applicable, how you should store them. We’ll share some basic rules on contact lens care.
Wash your hands every single time before handling your contact lenses
Practice good hygiene when handling your contact lenses. Always wash your hands before inserting or removing your contact lenses.
Store your contact lenses properly
Wash your contact lens case with the contact lens solution and not water. Allow it to dry between uses and be sure to replace it every three months. If you aren’t wearing a daily or one-time use contact lens, always clean and store your contact lenses in fresh contact lens solution – do not reuse contact lens solution.
Never store or clean your contacts in water. There are harmful microorganisms in water, and they can get onto your contact lenses and cause irritation or infection. Always use a contact lens solution to store your contact lenses.
Don’t shower or swim while wearing your contact lenses
There are tiny microorganisms in the water that can get on your contact lenses if you take a shower or swim with them in your eyes and cause infections, so remove them before taking a shower or swimming.
Don’t overwear your contact lenses
Follow your prescription on when to replace your contact lenses to avoid developing serious eye infections. Wearing contact lenses past their expiration date is simply not worth the risk to your eye health!
Unfortunately, overwearing contact lenses is a common problem and can lead to developing painful eye conditions including red eyes, contact lenses not feeling comfortable, sensitivity to light, and even new blood vessels developing in the whites of the eyes due to the lack of oxygen.
Don’t sleep in your contact lenses
Unless the doctor specifies you should sleep in your contact lenses, always remove your contact lenses before going to sleep at night or even before taking a nap. Your eyes need oxygen to be healthy, and when you sleep in your contact lenses, you wake up with dry eyes and feel like the contact lenses are “stuck” to your eyes at best, and at worst, you can develop very painful and serious infections.
Avoid rubbing your eyes while wearing your contact lenses
Rubbing your eyes can damage or dislodge your contact lenses, and can damage the cornea, the front surface of the eye.
Remove your contact lenses if your eyes are irritated
Don’t wear your contact lenses if you have red, itchy, or irritated eyes. Everyone who primarily wears contact lenses should also have a “backup” pair of eyeglasses in case of irritation, redness, itchiness, or feeling unwell.
Need Contact Lenses? Schedule an Appointment for Contact Lens Exam
If you’ve been struggling with your contact lenses or need new contact lenses, schedule an appointment for a contact lens exam. Dr. Joel Hayden is an expert in fitting the right contact lenses which offer visual clarity and comfort.