Contact lenses are a great alternative for eyeglass wearers who dislike glasses, but they come with great responsibility. Maturity and hygiene are not age-related when it comes to contact lenses wearers. There are young and old patients in optometry clinics around the world that honestly have no business wearing contact lenses, but there are the majority of patients who make an effort to respect the contact lenses for what they are -they are medical devices regulated by the FDA. Contact lenses are not commodities and should be obtained through your optometrist after a proper fit and education about the lenses, how to clean and maintain them, their replacement schedule and what to avoid while wearing them.
Contact lenses are amazing with colors to change your look, bifocal contacts to help avoid wearing those readers, astigmatism correction and the correction of hyperopia and myopia. BA Eye Site wants you to enjoy the vision these devices offer safely, so below we discuss some of the worst habits of contact lens wearers. If you find yourself doing any of these 6 contact lens sins, you are endangering your eyesight and you need to correct your actions.
Bad Habits of Contact Lens Wearers
Bad habits to avoid:
Sleeping in your lenses if they are not FDA approved is a ticking time bomb. Some of these lenses don’t allow oxygen to get to the cornea this sets up a ripe environment for eye infections or irritation and swelling of the cornea causing cloudy vision and red eyes. The lenses approved by the FDA for overnight wear allow more oxygen transmission which reduces the possibility of infection. Certain patients find they simply are not able to sleep in any lens due to dry eye syndrome.
Improper cleaning and case replacement can cause a contamination zone for those patients who feel they are doing good by removing their contacts before bed for an overnight soak. Rub your lenses with the multipurpose solution, replace your case every three months and leave your case open and allow it to dry during the day when you are wearing your lenses. Before you put your freshly rubbed lenses for their overnight soak rinse the case out with the multipurpose solution, not saline to remove any dust or particles that may have gotten in your case while it was drying out during the day. Never ever “top-off” the solution, a few patients seal their cases during the day and simply put their contacts back into the same solution they used the night before they think they can add a few drops of fresh solution to the mix and they are good to go- WRONG. That is like reusing the same bathwater from the day before and just adding a few gallons of fresh hot water to bath in again.
Wash your hands before messing with your contacts. This should be a no brainer, but it happens people fail to wash their hands before removing their lenses from their eyes or the case to insert the lens in their eyes.
Over-wearing your contacts is never a good idea. Contact lenses have a replacement schedule for a reason. Extending the life and wear of contact lenses past the recommended replacement schedule can lead to vision compromising conditions. With contact lenses comes responsibility, we as eyecare professionals give you the recommended FDA replacement schedule which was formulated through studies and clinical trials. We also have to deal with those patients who have disregarded that advice; trust me it is much easier and less painful to heed our instructions.
“Washing” contact lenses in your mouth is also a common horrible habit. Contact lenses have no business anywhere near a persons mouth. Studies show the human mouth is worse than the mouths of canines. Ask any dentist or emergency room doctor who has dealt with both human bites and dog bites. The human mouth is teeming with bacteria, and by putting your lens in your mouth and back into your eye you just introduced those bacteria to your eye. The average drop of human saliva contains over 60,000 individual bacteria.
Swimming in your contacts is very dangerous. Don’t take my word for it click here to see what the Centers for Disease Control has to say. The thought of an organism like acanthamoeba infecting your contacts and corneas should be enough to stop this practice among informed patients.
I hope you are disgusted by some of these habits, and that you are wearing your lenses responsibly and safely. BA Eye Site does treat complications arising from some of these bad habits; we hope that this post will prevent a few complications from ever occurring.
Dr. Matthew Ozment
Optometrist, Broken Arrow OK