Whether you just started wearing contacts or you’ve had your prescription for years, you could be making some contact lens care faux pas. Do you know what they are?
Knowing how to take care of contacts can seem like a big task. However, if you are concerned about your health and hygiene, you already know that your contact lens care is important. About 45 million people in the U.S. wear contacts. If you’re one of them, make sure you’re wearing your lenses right.
In this guide, we’ll break down what you need to know about how to care for contacts. Keep reading to find out how to keep your eyes clean and healthy!
1. Clean Your Contacts Case
Cleaning your contacts might go without saying, but did you know that you should also clean the case that you store them in?
You should regularly wash and dry out your contacts storage case so it can’t harbor contaminants that will get into your eyes. When you clean the case, make sure to remove all the old contacts solution, give it a rinse with a clean solution, wipe it down, then store it upside down until it’s dry. You should also get a new case at least every three months for the health of your eyes.
2. Always Wash Your Hands
You probably wash your hands regularly, such as before you eat. However, it’s easy to be too lax about washing your hands before touching your contact lenses. And even if your hands seem to be clean, you could be transferring contaminants onto your eyes.
Bacteria on your hands will move across the lens and into your eyes quickly. Make sure to wash your hands before you touch your contacts in any way, including putting them in and taking them out.
3. Don’t Wear Your Lenses Too Much
Overwearing your contacts can be harmful to your eyes. Even if you have daily lenses that you throw out and replace regularly, it is possible to wear them too much.
Make sure to schedule days without contact lens wear, so your eyes can rest. Keep a pair of glasses around and wear them about once a week, or as often as your eyes feel like they need a break. Wearing contacts too much blocks off oxygen from getting to your eyes. This can lead to swollen corneas and even infection, not to mention discomfort.
4. Never Get Your Contacts Wet
Water sees like it should be safe for contacts, but even clean, filtered tap water should never come into contact with your lenses.
You also should never swim or shower with contacts in. No water is completely sterile the way contact lens saline solution is. When the bacteria and other contaminants in that water reach your eyes, it can cause problems and even threaten your vision.
When contacts get wet, they take on a different shape, which can damage your cornea. So even if there aren’t any contaminants in the water, you still can’t expose your contacts to any liquid besides clean saline.
5. Always Put Them in Before Makeup
Should contacts go in before or after makeup? This is a question that often doesn’t get addressed by the eye doctor. However, the conclusive answer is that they should always come before your eye makeup.
If you wait until after your makeup’s applied, your lenses could get damaged. The makeup that got on your hands during application can also transfer to your eyes, which can cause discomfort. Waterproof makeup is especially damaging to contacts.
You can wear makeup with contacts, but you should be careful not to get your cosmetics too close to the eye itself, where they can get on your lenses. For example, don’t apply eyeliner to the inner part of the eyelids if you’ll be wearing contacts. Contact lens solution can’t remove makeup, so your lenses will end up blurry or scratched.
6. Don’t Rub Your Eyes
When your eyes get tired, it can be hard to avoid the temptation to rub them. However, you should never rub your eyes with contacts in, even if your hands are clean. Rubbing can change the shape of your cornea (this can happen even if you don’t have contacts in). At worst, this can lead to the need for a corneal transplant.
7. Always Use Fresh Solution
As a thrifty woman, you might be tempted to reuse contact lens solution. But even if it looks clean, it isn’t.
When contact lens solution has been sitting for a long time, the bacteria in it grows past its disinfecting abilities. The solution is no longer effective, even though it might look the same. Even if the solution has been sitting without contacts in it, the bacteria has still had time to grow. Replace it every time.
8. Never Sleep in Your Contacts
Occasionally, your doctor may prescribe lenses that are okay to sleep in. But if yours aren’t approved, you should never sleep in your lenses, even for a short amount of time.
When you sleep in non-approved contacts, you’re actually putting your sight at risk. Sleeping in contacts means your tears can’t properly clean your eyes, and it also deprives the eye of oxygen. This can lead to an infection that will permanently damage your sight.
9. Don’t Reuse Dropped Lenses
If you drop your lenses on any surface, you shouldn’t put them back in your eye. Even if it’s a clean countertop, your contacts have come into contact with more bacteria than they should have.
If you drop a contact, just replace it with a fresh one instead. You can easily order contact lenses online if you start to run out.
Why Knowing How to Take Care of Contacts Matters
If you know how to take care of contacts, they can be a perfectly healthy part of your life. But if you don’t follow the rules of contact lens care, you could be putting the health of your eyes at serious risk. You only have two eyes, so make sure to protect them at all costs!
Shopping for your backup glasses for when your eyes need to rest? Don’t miss this guide to buying glasses online!