If you’re one of the millions of contact lens wearers, you went through a short instructional lecture on care. For example: When removing your contact lenses, wash your hands with soap and water before drying them with a lint-free cloth or paper towel. Then, take the contact lens out of your eye before gently rubbing it in your hand with some solution to wash it off. Place the contact in a case and fill with fresh solution before screwing the lid on.
From some of the feed back I have gotten over the years, there are many people who are not following these instructions. There are many bad habits patients ask about.
Bad habit: You use tap water with your contact lenses.
Why you shouldn’t: Tap water isn’t salty like tears are, so contact lenses tend to absorb the water and swell. The contact lens will then absorb it which is a problem because even drinking water isn’t sterile and contains microorganisms. Also, the swelling changes how the lens fits on your eye and will make the lens tighten on the eye. That’s why it’s also important not to swim with your contact lenses in these bacteria and microorganism can be absorbed into the contact lens.
Bad Habit: You don’t have solution with you, so you use water or your own saliva to wash them before popping them back in your eye.
Why you shouldn’t: All saliva is ridden with bacteria that belong in your mouth and not your eye. always Try to carry emergency contact lens solution with you.
Bad Habit: You re-use your solution or topping off the solution.
Why you shouldn’t: All the debris and bacteria that are in your eyes and are on your contact lenses, come off into the solution. So, if you’re re-using the same solution time and again, that means you’re letting your contact lenses sit in a bacteria pool – and then putting those same contacts right back into your eye. Instead, use fresh solution every single time you need to store your contacts. Or, a healthier option is daily disposable lenses.
Bad Habit: You’ve been using the same contact lens case for as long as you can remember.
Why you shouldn’t: Bathrooms are not the cleanest room in the house. Contact lens cases should only be used for three months tops before you replace with a new one. You can also sterilize your cases with boiling water or running through a dishwasher with a heat sterilization cycle.
Bad Habit: You wash your contact lens case with water, and then close it up before letting it dry completely.
Why you shouldn’t: As mentioned earlier water shouldn’t touch your contact lenses. Then dry with a clean towel or let it air dry completely before putting the lids back on.
Bad Habit: You use the off-brand solution.
Why you shouldn’t: When you purchase generic contact solution, stores, that sell their own brands, purchase the solution from other companies, so you don’t know what kind you’re getting.
Bad Habit: You’re using contact lenses you got five years ago.
Why you shouldn’t: You shouldn’t use contact lenses that are several years old. The prescription might just not be right anymore. The solution the lenses are stored in has an expiration date therefore, they are not keeping things sterile any more.
Bad Habit: Your vision is just a little blurry, or your eyes hurt just a little bit, but you wear your contact lenses anyway.
Why you shouldn’t: If your contact lenses are causing you any discomfort, or your eyes look just the slightest bit red, or things look a little blurrier, it’s better to take the lenses out than suffer through the discomfort and potentially develop an infection.
Bad Habit: You put your contact lenses in after putting your makeup on.
Why you shouldn’t: To avoid getting makeup on your contact lenses, We recommend putting contact lenses before applying makeup, and then taking them out before removing eye makeup.
Bad Habit: You wear your dailies for longer than a day, your monthlies for longer than a month, etc.
Why you shouldn’t: Your contact lenses are plastic based, but they have pores to help keep them moist in your eyes. However, these pores can then get dirty and trap debris and dirt in the lens. If you use your contact lenses for longer than recommended, you’re setting yourself up for trouble, including eye irritation, dry eye, an infection or overall discomfort.
Bad Habit: You sleep in your contact lenses.
Why you shouldn’t: Sleeping with contacts in your eyes severely limits oxygen transmission. When you are awake, your cornea receives oxygen from the air and from your tears. But when you’re asleep, the cornea receives less nourishment, lubrication and oxygen because your eyes are closed, and you are not blinking. Therefore, when you put your contact lens over the cornea overnight, you are further depriving your cornea of oxygen.