While wearing contact lenses is a convenient and natural-looking way to correct your vision, they also carry an increased risk of eye infection, which varies depending on the type of lenses worn. Here are some ways that you can minimize your risk of contact lens-related health problems:
Keep Contacts Clean
If you use daily-wear or extended-wear contacts, it’s important to clean them thoroughly as directed by the manufacturer or your optometrist. Before inserting and removing your contacts, thoroughly wash and dry your hands. Clean contacts only with a sterile contact lens solution, and for best results, rub them with your fingers before rinsing, regardless of whether or not you use a no-rub solution. Be sure to change out the solution in your lens case with every use, and let it air dry while it is empty.
Avoid Exposing Lenses to Water
Contact lenses are not designed to be soaked in water, so be sure not to clean them or store them in water—even if it is sterilized. In addition, take out your lenses before entering a swimming pool or bath, as there is a risk of water splashing on them.
Follow Prescribed Instructions
Using lenses only as directed is one of the most important aspects of ocular health for contact lens wearers. Be sure to remove daily-wear or disposable lenses while sleeping, even if you are only taking a short nap. Such contacts are not designed to let the maximum amount of oxygen into your eyes—a problem that can promote infection. This effect is exacerbated when your eyes are closed continuously. To minimize the presence of infection-causing microbes as well as to prevent the buildup of protein, it is important to change out or clean lenses as often as instructed.
Visit Your Eye Doctor Annually
Your contact lens prescription will likely need to be renewed every year, so see your optometrist to update your prescription and confirm the health of your eyes. Be sure to schedule an appointment sooner if you experience symptoms of ocular distress, such as redness, swelling, tenderness, tearing, or photosensitivity.
For more information on contact lens care, or to schedule an appointment with an experienced optometrist, call Eye Care Associates of St. Louis at (314) 863-4200.