There’s a lot to love about contacts. They’re much more convenient than glasses for many reasons. They don’t obstruct your peripheral vision as glasses can. It’s easier to participate in sports or to exercise wearing contacts. You don’t need to worry about breaking contacts.
However, wearing contact lenses can end up harming your eyes and having a negative impact on your vision if you don’t wear them and take care of them properly. What habits should you avoid in order to make the most of your contact lenses?
Can I Sleep in My Contacts?
Sleeping with your contact lenses in is a really bad idea. This is actually a major risk factor for developing corneal ulcers. If you habitually sleep in your contacts, you’re at risk for both vision loss and for needing a corneal transplant.
Why Is Sleeping in Contact Lenses Bad?
Most of your body gets oxygen from blood vessels carried throughout the body by the cardiovascular system. Your corneas don’t have any blood vessels, however, so they need to get oxygen from the air instead. While you’re sleeping, your corneas are already getting less oxygen because not as much oxygen can get through your eyelids. Adding contacts on top of that further restricts the oxygen your corneas can get, leading to vision problems.
How Often Do Contacts Need to Be Cleaned?
Not cleaning contact lenses often enough is another bad habit. Contacts should be cleaned every night when you take them out. In addition to correcting your vision, contact lenses also protect your eyes from dust, dirt, and other particles that air in the air. If you don’t clean them every night, those particles can enter your eyes and cause an infection.
How Should Contact Lenses Be Cleaned?
It’s just as important that contact lenses are properly cleaned as it is that they’re cleaned nightly. Use only approved cleaning solutions to clean your contacts. Don’t use water, because there can be bacteria in the water that can cause eye infections. For the same reason, don’t put your contacts in your mouth. The mouth is filled with bacteria that should be kept away from your eyes.
Can I Top off My Contact Lens Solution?
Do not top off the existing contact lens solution in your case with new cleaner. It’s important to use fresh cleaner every time you clean your contacts. This is because any dust, dirt, or bacteria that gets onto your contacts throughout the day will be washed off into the contact lens solution when you clean them at night. By just adding more solution, you’re leaving any particles and bacteria in your contacts cleaner, which could get back on your contacts, risking an infection.
Why Do I Need to Wash My Hands Before Putting in My Contact Lenses?
Another bad habit some contact-wearers have is not washing their hands before putting in their contact lenses. Any dirt, dust, or bacteria that are on your hands would then get on your contacts and from there into your eyes. Washing your hands beforehand can help keep your contacts cleaner. It’s also important to not use oily soaps.
Before touching your contacts, try touching your finger on a piece of tape. Examine any residue left on the tape. That’s what would be going onto your contact lenses and then into your eye.
How Often Do Contact Lenses Need to Be Replaced?
Many people don’t replace their contact lenses often enough. Your prescription will provide instructions that will tell you how often that needs to be. It’s not good for your eyes to keep contacts longer than recommended by your eye doctor because they can start to retain dirt and bacteria no matter how well you wash them.
Do I Need to Replace My Contact Lenses Case?
For similar reasons, you should also replace your case. No matter how well you keep it clean, dirt and bacteria can start to build up in there, which can get on your contacts and then into your eyes. Replacing the case every three months is recommended.
How Can I Recognize the Signs of an Eye Infection?
No matter how hard you try to keep your contacts clean, sometimes infections still happen. However, some people who wear contacts aren’t able to recognize the signs of one. Often, an appointment with your eye doctor will be necessary to treat an infection, but it’s better to do so sooner rather than later.
The symptoms of an infection can be:
- Increased light sensitivity
- Gooey discharge
- Blurry vision
- A feeling that something is in your eye
How Often Do I Need to Visit My Eye Doctor?
Some people who wear contact lenses don’t see their eye doctor as often as they should. Don’t fall into this bad habit. Instead, make sure you schedule an annual appointment with your eye doctor. This is essential not just for your eye health but also to make sure you have the right prescription.