Wearing Contact Lenses

So, you’ve made the switch from wearing glasses to the ease of inserting a small lens into your eye every day, contact lenses. This switch probably made life a little easier, putting on your football helmet or maybe changing the appearance of your eye color.

Contact lenses are considered medical devices that are worn directly on the eye to help correct your vision. They are obtained by visiting your optometrist for a contact lens exam (which is different from a comprehensive eye exam, make sure you mention to your eye doctor if you are interested in trying contact lenses). As a contact lens wearer, there is also a profound level of responsibility to maintain the health of your eyes. Here are a few facts about contact lenses:

  • 45% of people wear lenses longer than they are supposed to
  • 33% are guilty of sleeping in their lenses

  • 35% of contact lenses wearers don’t wash their hands before applying the lenses

  • 53% of consumers who wear decorative lenses purchase them illegally

All of these unhealthy habits can lead to bacterial infections that can leave scars on your eye and can even lead to vision loss if not corrected immediately! To steer yourself clear of those risk, here are some reminders about taking care of your contact lenses and first and foremost, your eyes:

  • Always wash your hands before handling contact lenses; if you have acrylic nails, never use your nails, always use your fingertips!
  • Always replace your contact lens cases every 3 months and make sure to store them dry when not in use
  • Never put your lenses in your mouth or use tap water. Carry a small lens solution in your backpack, gym bag, or locker for emergencies. Most stores now carry inexpensive travel sizes suitable for emergencies
  • Never use the same solution from the night before, always dump out the old solution and replace with a fresh solution
  • Never sleep or swim with your contact lenses
  • Make sure to follow the replacement schedule; most contact lenses are discarded monthly, every two-weeks or daily. Make sure you know your replacement schedule approved by your eye doctor
  • Always remove your makeup each night to keep your eyes healthy for next day wear
  • Don’t forget about your old glasses! Always have them accessible and repaired (if need be) to act as a back-up pair when your eyes need a break, or an infection or discomfort occur
  • Don’t buy contact lenses without a prescription during the Halloween season, fitting contact lenses generally take more than one visit and are done by eye doctors. Skipping this can cause more harm to the eye if the contact lens is not fitted properly.

Wearing contact lenses has many benefits that can help everyone in their everyday lives. The use of contact lenses also gives your eyes and eyelids even more protection because you can now wear sunglasses to avoid the harmful sun rays in your region.

Remember, if you ever experience eye discomfort, a lot of tearing, vision changes, or redness that does not go away after a few hours, contact your optometrist right away!

For more information about contact lenses visit the American Optometric Association. Also learn more about Contact Lens Health Week here.

Acknowledgement: Kaydee L. McCray (Navajo), MSMS, Doctor of Optometry Candidate at Western University of Health Sciences

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