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Published on January 09, 2017

contact lenses

Contact Lenses and Good Eye Health – Don’t Skimp When it Comes to Sight

There’s nothing wrong with being frugal – just like our moms and dads taught us.

We squeeze toothpaste tubes until they are flattened, clip coupons and of course we keep wearing our contacts well past their expiration date because it’ll save money.

On that last one: Please stop. Your eyes – and your eye doctor – will thank you. Anyone who has used contacts knows it’s easy to think we can get a few more days wear out of them.

Tyler Heuer, OD, Avera Medical Group optometrist said if you want to avoid painful eye infections – some of which can cause permanent vision loss and be expensive to treat – you’ll make a point to follow these simple contact-lens wearing practices.

“Soft contact lenses have come a long way in comfort and accessibility, but people forget that contacts still are considered a medical device and that these medical devices need proper care,” said Heuer.

The first thing that all contact-lens wearers need to remember is to wash their hands with soap and water, not hand sanitizer, before inserting or removing the lenses. It’s one simple step that’s crucial in preventing eye infections.

Another tip is to never mix your contact lenses with water. It is not good to shower or swim while wearing your contact lenses because doing so will increase the risk of infection.

This also means keeping your contact lens case clean – but not with water.

“A lot of people don’t realize that rinsing the contact lens case out with water is a bad thing, but it is,” Heuer said. “The cases should never be cleaned with soap and water or even rinsed with tap water.”

One of the most important things people can do to prevent eye infections is to never wear them when sleeping. “Even though some lenses are FDA-approved for extended or overnight wear, it is NOT recommended to sleep in your contact lenses,” Heuer said.

Also, some of us try to extend the life of our contact lenses because they still feel fine but it is important to replace your contact lenses as instructed by your eye doctor.

Blurry vision, unusual redness and pain, tearing or discharge and increased sensitivity to light are all indicators of an eye infection. If you have any of these symptoms, please see your eye doctor without delay.

Follow these additional tips to help reduce the risk of getting an eye infection:

  • Follow the schedule your eye-care professional gives you as well as guidelines for care, cleaning and storage.
  • Even in a pinch, NEVER put lenses in your mouth. It’s a surefire way to introduce harmful microbes to your eyes.
  • Make sure to use proper cleaning solutions and follow the instructions on the box for proper use and cleaning.
  • It’s best to replace the storage case every time you replace your contact lenses if you use a multipurpose cleaner. Never go longer than three to six months without replacing your case if you use that type of cleaner.
  • Daily wear should be limited to 12-14 hours per day.
  • It’s best to give your eyes a break to let them breathe; try removing your contacts two to three hours before bed and use your glasses.
  • Always have a back-up pair of glasses.

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