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Contact Lenses have made life easier for millions of people. They are convenient tools that correct your focusing issue and improve vision. They don’t alter your appearance like glasses do, and can be easily used while playing sports.
However, maintaining proper hygiene is absolutely essential when using contact lenses as the alternative can lead to seriously harmful results. Like all medical devices, contact lenses require care and proper handling from the user.
Eye health professionals instruct users on how to maintain contact lenses while prescribing them. Following those instructions will help to keep your eyes safe and healthy while you are using contact lenses. The risk of infections arises when you are not cleaning, storing, or properly caring for your contact lenses.
In this article, we will discuss hygiene habits for proper contact lens maintenance and care.
Taking care of contact lenses
To take care of contact lenses, you have to develop good hygiene habits. Here, we have listed some hygiene advice that must be followed for proper care of contact lenses.
Tip 1: Hand Washing
Washing hands is an important practice that has to be followed before touching your contact lenses. Wash your hands with soap and water and use a clean tissue or cloth to dry them. Our hands carry a lot of microbes and if we touch the contact lens without cleaning our hands, the microbes will transfer to the contact lens. Cleaning your hands is a very simple step that can help prevent eye infections.
Tip 2: Cleaning Your Contacts
Use your prescribed lens care solution to disinfect and clean your contact lenses. This practice should not be neglected – unless you wear a daily disposable contact. The best way to clean your contact lens is the rub and rinse method. Rub your contact lens with clean fingers then rinse them with the cleaning solution. Store the clean lens in the lens case while keeping them soaked in the solution. Using a lens care solution will get rid of any harmful germs or dirt that may have found their way to the lens.
Tip 3: Avoid tap water
Using tap water for cleaning your contact lenses is not recommended. This can harm your lens. Liquids like filter water, saliva, or tap water should never be used to clean or moisten your lenses. These liquids contain microorganisms and impurities that can cause eye infections.
Contact lenses are not recommended to be used while swimming for this same reason. If you have to swim, wear a disposable contact lens and protective goggles over your eyes. Dispose of the lens as soon as you are out of the water. Also, consider prescription swimming goggles so that you do not need to wear your contact lenses.
Tip 4: Do Not Top Off over old contact case solution
Often when people are too lazy to change their contact lens solution inside the case. they just top it off with the new cleaner solution. This practice is a bad hygiene habit and should be avoided. This harms the disinfecting properties of the contact care solution and the solution may become ineffective in destroying microorganisms. Use a multi-purpose contact lens solution to store your lens in a clean and disinfected contact case.
Tip 5: Do Not Share Contact Lenses
Sharing contact lenses even with close friends and family is a complete no-no. The contact lens can be your prescribed lens or even a decorative coloured lens, you must never share a contact lens. Sharing lenses can lead to eye infections and in some cases, corneal ulcers. Therefore, it is advised to always keep your contact lenses separate.
Tip 6: Do Not Sleep with Your Contacts On
Anyone who has accidentally fallen asleep with their contact lenses on will tell you not to do it. When you wake up in the morning your eyes will experience soreness, redness, and maybe even infection. This is because the cornea requires room to breathe, and contact lenses can obstruct that. Most lenses only have a wear time of 10-12 hours. Extending the wearing time can cause the lens to dehydrate which can also cause the above-mentioned symptoms.
If you are planning on wearing your lenses during the night-time make sure to take them out before sleeping. You can ask your friends to remind you or even set a phone alarm to stop going to bed with your contact lenses still on. The habit of taking out your lens before bedtime will help maintain your eye’s health.
Contact lens case care
Proper contact lens care hygiene also involves maintaining the contact lens case. The case should be cleaned and disinfected with a lens care solution. The lens should always be stored in a clean and disinfected case to avoid infections. To clean your case, rinse it with a lens care solution and wipe it dry with new tissue. Avoid dust and dirt from settling on your case.
The contact lens case should be used for two to three months only. This is to avoid any germs or microscopic organisms from lingering around the case. You should never leave your contact lens case open, as bacteria and germs can also be airborne.
Wearing contact lenses is a commitment and it is your duty to take care of your contact lenses and maintain them. The advice mentioned above will help you in taking optimum care of your contact lens and subsequently your eyes. Some risks of improper contact lens hygiene include corneal abrasion, infective corneal ulcer, keratitis and conjunctivitis. In extreme cases, improper hygiene can cause corneal scarring and vision loss.