Chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re one of the 45 million Americans who wears contact lenses.
The majority of people who wear contacts engage in behavior that’s risky to vision health, so we wanted to give you a brief refresher on how to care for your contact lenses.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 85 percent of adolescents “reported at least one behavior that put them at risk for a contact lens–related eye infection, compared with 81 percent of young adults, and 88 percent of older adults.”
Poor contact lens hygiene can result in bacterial infections, pain and irritation, and even permanent vision loss.
A number of sources (including the CDC and the American Optometric Association) have various steps they recommend for people who wear contacts. Some of these precautions hinge on what types of contacts you have, whether they be a type of hard or soft contact. You should consult with your Bard Optical optometrist to learn about how to care for your specific type of contact lenses.
However, people who wear contacts can rely on some general guidelines to keep their eyes healthy and contacts safe.
1. Wash Your Hands
Wash your hands with soap and water before handling your lenses. Dry them with a lint-free towel so that your hand doesn’t transfer debris to the lenses.
2. Rub, Rinse, And Clean Your Lenses
This helps clean and disinfect the lenses. Keep in mind that saline solution is not a disinfectant, so you’ll need a cleaning solution, as well.
3. Use Fresh, Sterile Contact Solution
Don’t reuse solution you’ve used before, and keep the tip of the solution bottles away from other objects to avoid contamination. Additionally, don’t use water, rewetting drops, or saliva to clean or rinse your lenses.
4. Follow A Schedule
More than half of people who wear contacts wear them longer than they’re supposed to. The type of contact lens you wear will dictate how long you should use the same contacts. Your eyecare professional will help you understand how often you should replace your contacts.
5. Replace Your Case
Dump excess solution from your case after each use, and clean and dry your contact lens case every day. Replace it, at most, every three months.
6. Know When To Take Your Lenses Out
Taking your contacts out in these scenarios reduces exposure to harmful bacteria.
7. Be Careful With Decorative Lenses
Decorative contacts are a hot topic. More than half of people who wear decorative contacts have purchased them illegally, and the FDA has devoted an entire page on their site to them. Decorative lenses can cause damage to your eyes if not prescribed by an eyecare professional.
Whether you’ve just started wearing contacts or you’ve done so for years, take a few extra moments when taking out your contacts next. Make sure you’re following these general steps so that you’re protecting your vision health. If you have any questions about how to care for your specific type of contacts, or if you would like to schedule an eye exam to get a prescription, we would be happy to help you.