Over 45 million Americans wear contact lenses, but the majority of them don’t care for their contacts as well as they should.
Your contacts give you a beautiful gift: better vision! And without them, life would be more difficult. But if you don’t clean and take care of them properly, it can lead to problems like infections and eye irritation.
To help you keep your lenses clean, we’ve put together a guide on the dos and don’ts of caring for contact lenses. Let’s dive in!
The Dos of Caring for Contact Lenses
Cleaning contact lenses is only one part of a healthy care routine. Here are a handful of other “dos” to keep in mind:
Handle Lenses With Clean Hands
It’s common for your hands to have germs on them from your day-to-day life, so it’s important to wash them well before handling your contact lenses. Use a simple lotion-free soap to wash your hands and dry them well before putting in or taking out your contacts.
Clean Your Lenses After Each Use
Always clean your contacts before wearing them. Place a lens in your palm and pour some contact lens solution on it, rubbing it gently with your fingers to clean it. Do this with the other lens as well, and then put them in your case with fresh contact lens solution.
Rinse and Replace Your Case Regularly
Bacteria can build up in your lens case, and that bacteria can transfer to your eyes if you’re not careful. Rinse out your case with new contact lens solution and let it dry completely by setting it upside down and keeping the tops off. It’s also recommended that you replace your case every three months.
Stick to Your Lens Replacement Schedule
Whether you have contact lenses that need to be replaced daily, every other week, monthly, or even yearly, make sure you’re following this timeline and not over-wearing them. Your eye doctor will be able to tell you when you should be replacing your lenses.
Visit Your Eye Doctor for Your Regular Exam
Even if your eyes are feeling a-okay, it’s still a good idea to visit your eye doctor. During the examination, your eye doctor may catch a problem before it becomes a real (and painful!) issue.
Recycle Your Contact Lenses After Using Them
Instead of throwing your contacts in the trash or flushing them down the toilet or sink, collect them in a recyclable bag to take to a place that recycles them. Keep in mind this isn’t a regular recycling center, so you may need to do some research to find a contact lens recycler near you.
The Don’ts of Contact Lens Care
When it comes to avoiding dirty contacts, learning how to clean contact lenses is just as important as learning what not to do. To keep your contacts clean and your eyes healthy, don’t:
Top Off Your Contact Lens Solution
Adding a squirt of fresh contact lens solution to a case full of old solution is not a good idea. In fact, it can lead to infections that are painful and hard to treat. Pour out all of the old contact lens solution and refill it with fresh solution before storing your lenses.
Purchase Contacts Without a Prescription
If you’re interested in contact lenses that are for aesthetic purposes, you’re still going to want a professional to advise you on them. Everyone’s eyes are different and have unique surfaces, so it’s important for the contacts you wear to be specifically for you.
Get in Water With Contacts In
Water, whether it’s from an ocean, lake, or even the bathtub, has bacteria in it that you don’t want getting on your contact lenses (or on your eyes!). Before you take a shower or bath, go for a swim, or get in any other kind of water, take out your contacts and store them safely.
Sleep While Wearing Contact Lenses
Sometimes the temptation to go to sleep with your contacts still in is high when you’re feeling too tired to take them out, but try not to do this! While there are some kinds of contacts that are safe to sleep in, the majority need to be taken out before you sleep to avoid eye irritation or infection from all the bacteria they collect during the day.
Rub Your Eyes Aggressively While Wearing Contacts
Rubbing your eyes can cause the contact lens to fold in half or get stuck under your eyelid. It can even cause harm to your cornea if you’re rubbing too hard. While it’s best not to rub your eyes at all while wearing contacts, if you do have to, try to do it as gently as possible.
Clean Your Contacts With Tap Water
As mentioned before, water has microorganisms in it that you don’t want on your contacts. Even in a pinch, don’t rinse or clean them with tap water – always use contact lens solution instead. The same rule goes for storing your lenses too!
Keep Your Lenses Out in the Heat
Avoid storing your contacts in super hot temperatures. If you leave them there for a long time, it can cause them to dry out. Once you put them in, this might make them irritate your eyes.
Share Your Contact Lenses With Other People
Your contacts were picked out for you and your unique eyes, so don’t let others wear your lenses.
Follow These Tips for Clean Lenses and Healthy Vision
Caring for contact lenses doesn’t have to be difficult if you follow the tips and tricks to keep them clean. By doing simple things like storing your lenses in clean contact lens solution and always using clean hands to put them in or take them out, you’ll be much less likely to have eye irritation.
And when in doubt, always keep a pair of eyeglasses with you. If an emergency strikes and you need to take out your contacts, you’ll still be able to see.
If you’re looking for contact lenses or eyeglasses in Houston, reach out to us today! We’re happy to help with all of your ophthalmology needs.