Anyone who regularly wears contact lenses will know the struggle of wearing contact lenses. Whether it’s trying to find the right brand of contact lenses, getting used to the process or dealing with dry eyes.
Wearing contact lenses puts you at risk of several serious conditions, including eye infections and corneal ulcers. More commonly, contact lens wearers are exposed to getting pink eye (conjunctivitis), corneal abrasions (not an ulcer) and eye irritation/inflammation if not careful.
The two most important things to remember:
- The obvious one. Never, ever sleep with your contacts in.
Sleeping in your contacts will put you at risk of developing a serious infection on your cornea, which is essentially sores on the surface of your eyes. A healthy cornea has the ability to defend bacteria that can cause nasty infections. Leaving contacts in significantly cuts the amount of oxygen and moisture your eyes should be receiving. It can cause different types of infections; bacterial keratitis, acanthamoeba keratitis (a corneal infection resistant to treatment and cure) or fungal keratitis. Most cases, mild to moderate, can be treated with eye drops. If you notice blurred vision, discharge coming from your eye, redness or excessive watering after leaving your contacts in, we recommend seeing your eye doctor. Just remember, even contact lenses that are approved as ‘overnight wear’, eye doctors actually recommend removing contacts to give the eyes a break and let the cornea breathe.
2. The annoying one. Change the solution in your lens case daily.
Bin yesterday’s solution and put a new solution every day to avoid unwanted infections. Active ingredients keep the lenses relatively free of micro-organisms, react with contaminants in the lenses and the case, and precipitate out of the solution. Solution disinfects your contact lenses to be safe and comfortable to wear from micro-organisms. However, disinfection time can vary from product to product; check the manufacturer’s guide for details. Your lenses will be covered in bacteria if not removed, and the solution will no longer be viable. When replacing the solution, bacteria can also stick to the case. Removing with a clean cloth or tissue paper is recommended to ensure bacteria have been cleared. Dr. Lai, an Ophthalmologist, says, “Reusing contact lens solution decreases the effectiveness of the disinfection properties of the solution”. Not following the steps to clean the solution for your contact lens case causes inflammation and infections.
- Rub and rinse your contact lenses as directed by your eye doctor
- Clean and disinfect properly and follow the manufacturer’s instructions
- Go contact lenses-free for three hours a day
- Ask eye doctor for special lenses if your contacts are irritating you
- remove your lenses immediately and do not put them back in your eyes
- Use eye drops when your eyes feel fine to prevent dryness occurring
- Don’t extend your contact lenses life and buy new ones
- Wash your hands and dry them before touching your contact lenses
- Do not ‘top-off’ the solution in your case and always discard it
- Never use non-sterile water on your contact lenses
- Replace contact lenses storage case every 2-3 months
- Remove contact lenses before water activities
Keep your eyes hydrated with high-quality eye drops:
- Eye drops for daytime
- Eye drops for night-time
*Suitable for contact lens wearers