Contact lenses are a convenient and popular option to provide people with clear vision, but they also carry the risk of complications. Properly taking care of your contact lenses is essential in preventing contact lens related problems such as dryness and irritation. More importantly, ensuring your contact lenses are clean can reduce the risk of serious complications such as corneal ulcers or eye infections. If you have been wearing contact lenses for a long time, you may be tempted to cut corners when it comes to caring for your contact lenses, but this can come at a cost. No matter how long you have been a contact lens wearer, it is important to maintain a diligent routine to keep your eyes safe and health. Continue reading to brush up on contact lens cleaning and maintenance.
The Basics of Proper Contact Lens Wear
Regularly Replace Your Lenses.
Over-wearing contact lenses has serious health risks. Those who do not regularly replace their contact lenses as directed are at a much high risk to develop complications such as a corneal ulcer. While you may think that stretching out your lenses for an extra week or two is saving you a few dollars, it is not worth the risk of losing your sight or permanently damaging your eyes.
Keep Your Contact Lenses Clean.
Using an approved cleaning solution and thoroughly rubbing your lenses can help prevent the build-up of bacteria, lipids, allergens, and other irritating particles. Contact lens solution is the only liquid that should be used to clean your lenses – never you tap water, saliva, or distilled water.
Know How to Store Your Contact Lenses.
Contamination of your contact lens case can lead to serious infections or complications. Keep your contact lens case clean by discarding old solution, rinsing and rubbing the case with fresh solution, then allowing the case to air dry. Never “top off” old solution when storing lenses, and avoid rinsing cases with tap water.
Back-up Glasses Are Important.
If you are experiencing redness, irritation, pain, light sensitivity, or other uncomfortable symptoms, avoid wearing your contact lenses and wear a pair of back-up glasses instead. Back-up glasses are also important to have while travelling in case a contact lens is lost or damaged.
Complications of Poor Contact Lens Hygiene
Contact lens related problems have the potential to be sight-threatening. Those who over-wear their lenses, forget to thoroughly clean them, or incorrectly store their lenses are at a higher risk for a complication such as a corneal ulcer. Corneal ulcers are open sores that occur on the outermost layer of the cornea that are caused by a bacterial infection. If left untreated, corneal ulcers can cause permanent damage and result in vision loss, or even blindness. If you are a contact lens wearer and begin to experience symptoms such as pain, redness, or light sensitivity, promptly visit your doctor. If a corneal ulcer is present, treatment should be started immediately. While these potential complications of contact lenses can be scary, remember that appropriately caring for your lenses significantly reduces your risk.