Whether you only occasionally wear contact lenses or wear them instead of glasses, it's important to understand how to properly clean and maintain your lenses. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control, 40 to 90% of people do not properly follow contact lens instructions, resulting in serious issues such as eye infections and even blindness.
With that in mind, below are five things you should be aware of if you wear contact lenses.
1. Your Contacts Can Cause Infections
Cornea ulcers are caused when your eyes become infected with bacteria or other particles trapped under the lens. Unfortunately, these ulcers are a typical condition for many contact lens wearers who don't properly clean their lenses, wear their contacts for too long, or use chemicals other than contact lens solution. The result is often red, irritated, and dry eyes. In severe cases, infected contacts can even cause light sensitivity and eye pain. The best way to avoid infections is to always follow the cleaning and wearing instructions recommended by your optometrist.
2. Your Contacts Limit Oxygen to Your Eyes
Believe it or not, your eyes actually need oxygen to function properly. Unfortunately, wearing contacts limits the amount of oxygen that reaches your cornea. That can result in blood vessels forming in your eyes in an attempt to supply oxygen and nutrients, resulting in blurry vision and other issues. Avoid wearing your contacts when sleeping, and be sure to follow your optometrist’s instructions for how long you can safely wear them each day.
3. Your Contacts Aren't Designed for Water
Swimming pools, hot tubs, and lakes can be breeding grounds for bacteria, parasites, and other organisms that can affect your eyes. Unfortunately, modern contact lenses are constructed out of materials that can absorb a great deal of these organisms and trap them underneath the lens, resulting in infections and other eye issues. That's why optometrists recommend removing your contact lenses if you’re enjoying any water-related activities.
4. Your Contacts Will Expire
Many people think that the expiration on disposable lenses is just a recommendation or something that contact lens manufacturers have created as a way to sell more products. The truth is that the expiration dates on contacts are there for a very good reason: to help ensure they function properly and to protect your eyes. Wearing disposables past their expiry will not only impact their effectiveness, but could seriously impact your vision. The same holds true for non-disposable contact lenses in terms of how long they can be worn and used. Be sure to speak to your optometrist to find out how long you can wear your contact lenses.
5. Your Contacts Should Never Hurt
If you feel any pain or discomfort when wearing your contact lenses, you should immediately take them out. Unfortunately, small cracks and tears can form on your contact lens, which can irritate your eyes. Similarly, dirt and other particles might be stuck to the lens, which can also lead to discomfort. If you suffer from allergies, you might also want to reconsider contact lenses since pollen, dander, and other allergens can stick to your lenses and cause irritation.
The best way to ensure that your contacts fit comfortably and correctly is to speak with your optometrist and follow their cleaning and maintenance advice. With a little knowledge and a bit of care, you and your eyes will be able to get the most out of your contact lenses.
To book an eye exam and find the right contact lenses for your needs, schedule an appointment at an FYidoctors near you.