Written by Dr. Abby Trettin
In recent decades, contact lenses have become the primary choice for vision correction for many individuals. The CDC estimates that approximately 45 million people in the United States wear contact lenses on a regular basis. Contact lenses are a medical device that offers correction for people who are nearsighted, farsighted, astigmatic and even presbyopic with many varieties of types and brands available. There are soft, rigid or hard, and specialty contact lens designs available.
There are many benefits of contact lens wear. They can help people see better without affecting their appearance or interfering with many forms of physical activity. They allow for a wider range of peripheral vision without the interference of the frames in eyeglasses. They allow for greater versatility throughout the day, especially when it comes to formal events and other activities. With all the benefits that contact lenses bring, they definitely do not come without many risks as well.
With the rate of contact lens wear increasing rapidly, the rate of contact lens misuse has also increased, especially when it comes to sleeping in contact lenses. If you are a contact lens wearer, it is very important to know how to properly take care of your contact lenses. The following will provide a list of the “Do’s and Don’ts” for proper contact lens care.
- Always wash your hands with soap and water and dry hands completely before touching contact lenses
- Inspect lenses thoroughly before putting them in your eyes
- Rinse only with saline or contact lens solution
- Buy name brand solutions and try to be consistent with using the same solution in order to minimize discomfort and increase performance of your contact lenses
- Use fresh solution every night to store contacts
- Clean contact lenses every time you remove them
- Clean your contact lens case regularly and replace it at least every 3 months
- Replace contact lenses according to the prescribed replacement schedule – daily, biweekly and monthly are the traditional replacement schedules
- If your eyes become red or irritated, remove contact lenses immediately and seek care from your optometrist
- Make sure you have a pair of glasses as a back up
- Visit your eye doctor annually. Always get an eye exam and prescription from a licensed optometrist.
- Touch the lenses with your fingernails or sharp objects to remove lenses
- Use a lens that is torn or damaged
- Use expired lenses
- Wear contacts more than the approved 10-14 hours per day
- Wear contacts longer than the prescribed replacement schedule, as this could lead to serious infections and complications
- Sleep in contact lenses
- Swim or shower with contact lenses in
- NEVER use tap water or spit to rinse or store contact lenses
- Don’t top off old solution by mixing in a little new solution
- Share contact lenses with other people or wear contact lenses that weren’t prescribed to you
It is noted that between 40 and 90 percent of contact lenses wearers do not follow the proper care instructions for their contact lenses. Bad habits and poor hygiene with contact lenses can result in serious complications that can include infections, intolerance, and even permanent vision loss. If you have any questions about the proper care of contact lenses, please contact our office. Dr. Hoppe and Dr. Trettin are happy to answer any questions you may have.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthy Contact Lens Wear and Care. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/contactlenses/fast-facts.html
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Protect Your Eyes. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/contactlenses/protect-your-eyes.html
- American Optometric Association. Bad Habits of Contact Lens Wearers. Retrieved fromhttps://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/contact-lenses
- New Grad Optometry. Sleeping in Contact Lenses. Retrieved from https://newgradoptometry.com/sleeping-in-contact-lenses/