Mastering Proper Contact Lens Hygiene for Healthy Eyes

Mastering Proper Contact Lens Hygiene for Healthy Eyes

Millions of people choose to wear contact lenses. However, they are not for everyone. To safely wear contact lenses, you must be committed to caring for them properly and replacing them as directed to prevent complications.

Types of soft contact lenses:

Monthly and Bi-weekly Contact Lenses

These lenses cannot be worn when sleeping and must be removed every night to be disinfected and stored. To prevent eye infections, these lenses need to be replaced and properly cared for as indicated by your eye care provider.

Daily Disposable Contact Lenses

These lenses are worn for just a day and discarded before bedtime each night. Daily disposable contact lenses are the healthiest option for the eyes since a new lens is opened at every use.

How to Properly Care for Your Contact Lenses

Always start by washing your hands before handling your contact lenses. Then clean your contacts by rubbing them with solution on your palm. Rubbing the lens loosens the protein and bacteria that builds up. Studies have proven that rubbing the lenses is one of the best ways to avoid eye infections. Place them in a small case filled with the solution and soak them for six to eight hours. Replace the case at least every 3 months, or right away if it gets cracked or damaged. Remember to empty out the old solution in your contact lens case with every use.

What NOT to Do

Do not shower, swim, use a hot tub or anything where water gets in your eyes while wearing contacts.

Do not sleep in your contact lenses!

Do not use your contact lenses if they are visibly soiled or damaged.

Do not wear your contact lenses if you feel like you may possibly have an eye infection (pain, discharge, redness, irritation, etc.)

Complications from Poor Contact Lens Handling and Wear

Corneal Ulcers

Corneal ulcers are open sores on the cornea, often caused by infections from poor contact lens use. Poor lens hygiene, extended wear and sleeping in lenses increase the risk of developing corneal ulcers. They can lead to permanent scarring and vision problems.

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC)

GPC is an allergic reaction to proteins and debris that accumulate on contact lenses over time. It can cause itching, redness, mucous discharge and discomfort. GPC may lead to the need for a lens break or switching to a different type of lens.

Corneal neovascularization

Prolonged and improper contact lens wear can reduce oxygen supply to the cornea, leading to the growth of new blood vessels (neovascularization). This can increase the risk of infection and corneal problems.

Acanthamoeba Keratitis

Acanthamoeba is a microorganism found in water and soil. If it contaminates your contacts lenses or lens case, it can lead to a painful and sight-threatening infection known as Acanthamoeba keratitis. Symptoms include severe pain, redness, light sensitivity and blurred vision.

Bacterial keratitis

Bacterial keratitis is a serious infection caused by bacteria, often as a result of improper lens handling or lens contamination. Symptoms may include redness, pain, blurred vision, discharge, and light sensitivity. Left untreated, it can lead to corneal damage and vision impairment.

Prevention is key to avoiding these complications. It is crucial to follow your eye care provider’s recommendations for lens care and replacement schedules, practice good hygiene and avoid risky behaviors like sleeping in lenses or swimming while wearing them.

Regular eye exams are essential to monitor your eye health and ensure that your contact lenses are fitting properly. If you experience any discomfort or unusual symptoms while wearing contact lenses, consult your eye care provider promptly to prevent complications from worsening. Schedule an eye exam today!



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