For contact lenses wearers, there’s the simple rule of basics soft contact lens care: Clean, Rinse and Disinfect. The optometrists at The Eyewear Place take your vision seriously, and while contacts provide a lot of convenience for wearers, they also require proper handling and care.
We’ve covered the basics of safe contact lens wear, because of the seriousness of what can happen if not – like keratitis, an inflammation of the cornea. But contact lens wearing is a way of life; the United Kingdom’s The Independent estimates that 125 million people globally wear contact lenses because of the array of benefits they provide. But whilst there are many advantages of contact lenses, there are also many risks associated with improper use which patients should be aware of and according to a 2014 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 99% of those who wear contact lenses have engaged in at least one “contact lens hygiene risk behavior”. These risk behaviour include:
Sleeping with your lenses in can cause eye irritation, scratches on your corneas or infections from unclean or unsterile lenses, even extended wear lenses still carry risk so it is better to remove them nightly. Your cornea, the outside layer of your eye that the contact covers, needs an adequate supply of oxygen to keep it healthy and sleeping in your lenses not only affects the amount of oxygen delivered to your eyes.
Bathing, showering or swimming with contacts in as most water sources, for example lakes, pools, hot tubs, and bathroom sinks, contain bacteria or the microorganism acanthamoeba, which can cause an extremely painful infection and potentially even lead to blindness. In addition, any natural bacteria living on the cornea can serve as a food source for the acanthamoeba, enabling it to survive. They may even slip out of place or even get “wash” out of your eye. Wear goggles while swimming and disinfect your lenses afterwards.
Using lengthening mascaras, they contain tiny fibres that stick to the eyelashes giving the illusion of longer lashes, but these fibres can also fall off and get caught under contact lenses, irritating the eye. In addition to this there are many bacteria that naturally live on the eyelashes, which more commonly cause infections and ulcers on the cornea. If your eyes do feel irritated after wearing make-up, remove your lenses and switch to a different product.
Additional cautions include:
Not using saliva or anything other than the recommended solutions for lubricating or rewetting your lenses. Never put lenses in your mouth.
Never rinse your lenses with tap water - it contains many impurities that can contaminate or damage your lenses and may lead to eye infection or injury - and you might lose the lens down the drain.
If you wear contacts and notice eye pain, eye redness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, excessive tearing or the sensation of having something in your eye, see your The Eyewear Place optometrist immediately. If you have questions about contact lenses wear and proper care, contact The Eyewear Place in Lloydminster or Fort McMurray today to set up an appointment.