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Wear & Care For Contact Lenses

Optometrist holding contact lens.

Optometrist holding contact lens.

Optometrist holding contact lens.

Are you one of the 40 million Americans who wear contact lenses? According to the CDC, there’s a 99% chance you have at least one unsafe hygiene behavior. Whether you are a rookie or veteran contact lenses wearer, it sounds like we might need to recap proper contact lens hygiene.

Proper handling of contact lenses should include:

  • Washing your hands with soap and water, rinsing thoroughly, and drying with a clean, lint-free towel. Avoid hand sanitizer and soaps with lotion.
  • Inspecting your lens before putting it in your eyes. Make sure it is not inside out, and look for nicks or tears.
  • Rinsing a lens with fresh solution before inserting it in your eye, especially if it came out of contact lens case. If it was a new lens, it does not need to be rinsed right out of the package.
  • Using the same hand washing technique as you did in the morning when it’s time to take your lenses out.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting your lenses with fresh solution each night, keeping them in the case for a full 6 hours.

The top contact lens hygiene mistakes:

  1. Sleeping or napping in contact lenses
    This reduces the amount of oxygen your eye gets and doesn’t allow for cleaning or disinfection.
  2. Showering or swimming in contact lenses
    This exposes your contact lenses to bacteria that sit on your eye and can lead to infection.
  3. Extending the recommended replacement
    Contact lens materials breakdown over time. The recommended replacement comes from research and testing for safety.
  4. Topping off solution (re-using the leftover from the day before)
    Solutions are meant for single use only. Once your fingers have gone back in the case, the solution is contaminated. This also encourages a biofilm to grow in the case.
  5. Using tap water to rinse contact lenses
    Same exposure as showering and swimming, there is a lot of bacteria lurking in tap water.

Although wearing contact lenses puts you at a higher risk of getting infections, when worn, cleaned, and replaced on schedule contact lenses are a safe way to see better. Annual eye exams are important as a contact lens wearer, schedule yours today.

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