5 tips for contact lens wearers
Contact lenses can be a great option for many people. As long as they are properly cared for and frequently evaluated by your doctor, contacts can bring great vision and freedom from full-time glasses use.
More than 40 million Americans wear contact lenses for vision correction. But according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most of them are participating in at least one risky behavior that raises the risk of eye infection by five times or more.
Common risky behaviors
- Keeping contact lens cases longer than recommended
- "Topping off" or adding new solution to existing solution in the case instead of emptying completely and refilling
- Wearing contact lenses while sleeping
August 21–25 is Contact Lens Health Week — a great time to think about healthy contact lens habits to ensure the well-being of your eyes.
Top 5 healthy habits for contact lens use
- Always wash your hands thoroughly before handling your contact lenses. This includes anytime you touch your lenses on your eye to adjust them.
- Keep your contact lenses away from water. This means taking them out before bathing, getting into a hot tub, or going swimming. And never use water to clean them. Water, even distilled or purified water, has microbes in it that can cause eye infections.
- Speaking of cleaning your contact lenses, it is important to rub your lenses when you clean them with disinfecting solution, even when using “no rub” solutions. According the American Academy of Ophthalmology, rubbing lenses has proven to be one of the best ways to avoid eye infections.
- Contact lens cases should be completely emptied and refilled with disinfecting solution with each use, and cases should be replaced at least every three months.
- Don’t sleep in your contact lenses unless prescribed by your eye doctor. Your chance of contracting an eye infection increase six to eight times when you wear them while sleeping.
Remove your contact lenses and call your eye doctor immediately if you experience eye pain, discomfort, redness or blurred vision.
Contact lens companies are constantly working to improve the comfort, health and vision available in their products, so be sure to ask your doctor if there is something new on the market that will give you the experience you are hoping for.
About The Author
Keegan Bench, OD, optometry, joined MultiCare Rockwood Clinic in October 2015. He received his undergraduate degree from Utah State University in Logan, and his Doctor of Optometry from Midwestern University and the Arizona College of Optometry in Glendale, Arizona. Dr. Bench completed an optometric residency through Pacific University, Mann-Grandstaff VAMC Eye Clinic and the Spokane Eye Surgery Center. He is a licensed optometrist in Washington state and is certified by the National Board of Examiners. Dr. Bench is a member of Beta Sigma Kappa, the American Optometric Association, and is a founding member of the Student Optometric Leadership Network.More stories by this author