Contact lenses are a popular, comfortable and convenient vision correction solution, with an excess of 140 million contact lens users worldwide. Accompanying these staggering statistics are many who experience continued eye trouble and are at risk of infection as a result of improper lens care. Whether you’re a seasoned wearer who’s tried a number of contact lens solutions over the years, or a newbie still getting to grips with how to put in a lens without too many tears, this blog is a good refresher to keep your eyes healthy and thriving for many years to come.
Unlike those wearing eyeglasses, contact lens users have a number of important habits to create alongside enjoying the benefits of using these transformative vision solutions.
You only get one set of eyes, so aiding in their preservation and protecting them from infection is of paramount importance.
We want to take you through 5 common mistakes many new and experienced contact lens users make which could lead to potentially harmful consequences:
#1 Dozing off
What may feel like a somewhat relaxing activity when it’s been a long day or the movie is getting boring, napping with contact lenses is to be avoided at all costs.
Eyes require oxygen, nourishment and hydration to fight off microbes and bacteria which could lead to infection.
This is not a problem when you are awake and blinking, but when you shut your eyes (while wearing contact lenses) for a prolonged period, they do not get the oxygen they require for optimal functioning.
A recent study revealed that those who sleep wearing contact lenses are 6 to 8 times more at risk of infection in comparison to their compliant counterparts.
#2 Improper cleaning of contact lenses
Maybe you’re guilty of going a few days without washing your lenses or forgetting to pack proper contact lens solution in your travel bag and rather running them under some hot water. These dangerous practices put you at risk of infection and the development of conditions such as keratitis (an eye infection of the cornea which could result in permanent eye damage).
What’s the problem with exchanging contact lens solution for purified water or clean tap water? Water, though adequate for drinking, contains untold amounts of bacteria which can harm your sensitive eyes.
We advise travelling with a contact lens solution such as Aqua Naina Multipurpose Solution. This formula aids in the rinsing, cleansing, disinfecting and storing of lenses comfortably by removing harmful protein deposits on a daily basis.
If you need a decent contact cleaning solution, we recommend the Aqua Naina Sterile Saline Solution for the rinsing of soft contact lenses. The preservative-free solution is specifically formulated to provide optimal comfort and cleanliness (for more information on caring for your contact lenses, read this helpful blog for beginners).
Some other harmful practices include:
- Topping up your contact lens solution instead of discarding it entirely between uses
- Neglecting the proper cleaning of your contact lens case
- Using an expired contact lens solution
- Neglecting adequate hand hygiene before touching your contact lenses.
#3 Not following the recommended replacement schedule
Contact lenses have an expiry date for a reason, so don’t wait until the lenses become uncomfortable before you replace them. While keeping the lenses in for a day or two longer than your optometrist has stated could serve as a temporary cost-cutting measure, it also increases the risk of eye infections such as pink eye or scratchy eyes as a result of the accumulation of bacteria.
It is far better to replace the lenses earlier rather than later. Whether you have daily use lenses or extended wear alternatives, be sure to keep track of the expiry dates.
If you intend on going on holiday, plan ahead and rather swap them out before you travel rather than run the risk of eye infection.
#4 Swimming or showering with contact lenses
Why is this a problem? It all comes down to the same reason why we don’t recommend a ‘contact cleaning solution’ made up of H₂O.
Water harbours a number of germs and your contacts serve as a bridge between your eyes and the germs, so we don’t recommend this practice. Contact lenses also swell in the water, causing further discomfort. H₂O does not contain adequate levels of saltiness in comparison to a contact lens solution. These solutions are designed to match the acidity level of tears, while maintaining comfort and adequate sterilisation levels.
Optometrists generally recommend removing your contacts entirely when taking a dip in the pool (or any other water activity) or taking a shower. Alternatively, wearing goggles while swimming may be a healthy protective alternative (but first consult a medical professional to get the 👍.)
#5 Applying makeup
Don’t get us wrong; we’re not saying you can’t wear makeup at all when wearing contacts, rather that you should exercise extreme caution during the application.
Why is makeup a concern? Makeup - particularly in powder form - has a tendency to contaminate contact lenses because of its loose particles and a high likelihood of it falling onto lenses in comparison with cream-based alternatives.
What’s the solution to looking good (and seeing it)? Rather insert contact lenses before applying makeup, reducing the likelihood of lenses accumulating makeup particles in their journey to the eye. Consider switching to cream-based foundations or eyeshadows or make sure to close your eyes when applying eyeshadow.
Find the answers at Oculus Curae
At Oculus Curae, we are committed to helping people see better in order to live better, offering a number of affordable quality eye care supplements, contact cleaning solutions and contact lens solutions designed to ensure contact wearers enjoy a convenient, healthy and comfortable lifestyle.