I remember when I was 12 or 13... going to the eye doctor to make the big switch from glasses to contacts. So exciting! Nowadays, I love flaunting fun frames. But I still wear contact lenses. A lot. I've worn the same brand of soft, prescription, green colored contacts since junior high – except for one year when I opted for teal. ;) And having been wearing them for over ten years, I felt like I'm pretty much a pro.
Until I brushed up on my contact lens care according to the American Optometric Association.
Here are five health rules to follow if you wear contacts. (And a few might surprise you.)
1. Wash (and dry) your hands before touching.
There's no telling what sneaky germs are hanging out on your fingertips. So thoroughly wash and dry your hands before handling your contact lenses. Personally, I like to dry my hands with a paper towel instead of a regular bathroom towel – it ensures that I won't get any fuzzies. If you've ever had a fuzzy stuck between your eyeball and contact lens, you know what I'm talking about.
2. Regularly rub your contact lenses clean.
When you're in a hurry or it's the end of a long day, it's all too easy to let laziness get the best of you and just plop your lenses straight into the case. But you should carefully and regularly use cleaning solution to rub the lenses with clean fingers before soaking the lenses in a sufficient multi-purpose disinfectant solution. It will remove mucus, secretions, films, or deposits that can build up during wearing and lead to bacterial growth if not removed properly. Ew.
31% of consumers admit to using re-wetting drops and 16% use tap water to clean lenses instead of a multi-purpose solution. Fortunately, I've always used a solution. But admittedly, I should probably rub my lenses more often.
3. Replace your lens storage case every 3 months.
This one surprised me. I'll admit to being guilty of using the same contact lens case for like, a year. Also, clean your case. (I should probably do this more.) You can clean it by rubbing it with freshly washed fingers, rinsing it with solution, drying it with a tissue, and storing it upside down to dry on a paper towel.
|Jeepers Creepers! Where'd ya get those peepers? |
(I got my prescription, green-hued contact lenses from my optometrist!)
4. Always use fresh solution – never re-use old solution.
I know, I know. You're feeling lazy a the end of the day, but go the extra step and fill your case up with fresh solution. It can't do its job if it's been sitting in there for a week.
5. Give your eyes a break.
Occasionally, I take a brief nap in my lenses. It's a bad habit and I always regret it afterward – rushing to the bathroom to take out the dried-out lenses and put on some glasses and give my eyes some relief. I never sleep in them overnight. But more than half (a whopping 59 percent) of Americans wear their disposable contact lenses longer than the suggested duration. This bad habit can cause permanent eye damage from bacterial infections and oxygen deprivation.
6. Talk to your optometrist if you want decorative or non-corrective contact lenses.
I love my green-colored contact lenses. They brighten my already green eyes and I get a lot of compliments on them. (Plus, if a contact randomly pops out, it's easy to find!)
However, optometrists are increasingly concerned about the illegal sale and use of decorative or non-corrective contact lenses. Don't buy from street vendors, flea markets, or beauty supply stores. Often, these lenses don't meet quality and safety standards set by the USFDA. Seek out your eye doctor – get their prescription and guidance.
- Trust the experts.Use products recommended by your eye doctor to clean and disinfect your lenses.
- Remove contact lenses before exposing them to water.
- Schedule annual contact lens and eye examinations with your eye doctor. Unlike going to the dentist, I really enjoy eye exams – especially when I get to see the cool pictures taken of the inside of my eyes. (Hearing that my peepers are in picture-perfect health is a bonus!)
Click here to learn more about healthy contact lens habits, get answers to your eye care questions and find an AOA optometrist near you.
Okay, your turn. Which of these contact lenses care sins have you committed? Sleeping in them? Forgetting to rub them clean? Not replacing your contact lens case four times a year?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.