According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 99 percent of the country’s 41 million contact lens wearers are guilty of at least one bad contact lens habit. While we like to think our patients are perfect, we know that it isn’t always easy to follow all the rules when it comes to taking care of your contacts.
Here are some of the top contact lens abuses and tips for avoiding them:
Sleeping in contacts. Almost everyone who wears contact lenses or glasses dreams of a life awakening from sleep with clear vision. Sometimes you are just so exhausted that you fall straight into bed, skipping your usual pre-slumber routine. Unfortunately this can be very damaging to your eyes, as round-the-clock contact lens wear can cause infections.
The solution? If convenience is a factor, consider daily disposal lenses. This type of contact is growing in popularity due to advances that have been made to address astigmatism [link to blog post] and even presbyopia [link to blog post]. At the end of the day, take them out and toss them — something you can do even after your head hits the pillow.
Wearing contacts for too long. Different contact lenses are designed for varying lengths of wear. For example, daily disposables aren’t meant to stay in for a week. If your lenses are recommended for two weeks of use, you shouldn’t stretch it to four. Lenses past their prime are worn and more susceptible to infection-causing germs.
The solution? Remembering when you last changed your contacts is tough if you aren’t wearing daily disposables. Get some help from contact lens manufacturers, such as Acuvue, that will send an email when it’s time to change your lenses. If you are trying to save money, keep in mind that eye infections can be expensive, among other things — and you may pay not only with your money but also with your sight.
Not changing your case. A full 82 percent of respondents in the CDC survey admitted to not changing their contact lens case the recommended every three months. Even if you are discarding your storage solution on a daily basis and keeping your case clean, you are putting your eyes at risk by using an old case.
The solution? Contact lens cases are as abundant as favor bags at a kids party. They often are included in packaging for storage solution. Keep them in a handy spot and swap them out first day of each new season.
Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/marin