I had a mother bring her 15 year-old daughter in this week a couple of days before school started to get contact lenses for the first time. The mother wears contact lenses and as we reviewed contact lens safety and hygiene, the mother said a few times, "Well, I did not know that....." Practicing for almost 25 years, I have seen at least 1 person lose her eye completely due to poor hygiene with contact lenses and many patients scar their eyes forever by unclean and unsafe behaviors.
One very large risk you can take with your eyes is to wear contacts that are not prescribed by your doctor. Hubble contacts are substituted, generic and not the contact lenses your doctor prescribed.
The second huge risk is sleeping and napping in your contact lenses. The CDC highlighted the dangers of sleeping in contact lens in an article, "Corneal Infections Associated with Sleeping in Contact Lenses-Six Cases, United States, 2016-2018" in its Aug. 17 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). They report, "Among the many behaviors that increase the risk for a contact-lens-related corneal infection, sleeping in contact lenses is one of the riskiest and one of the most commonly reported behaviors among adolescent and adult contact lens wearers,"
Additionally, the MMWR reports, "Approximately one-third of contact lens wearers report sleeping or napping in their lenses," the report continues. "Sleeping in lenses, whether inadvertently, occasionally, or as part of a prescribed wearing schedule, increases the risk for contact-lens-related eye infections six- to eight-fold."
The American Optometric Association recommends the following:
- Always washing and thoroughly drying your hands before handling contact lenses.
- Carefully and regularly cleaning contact lenses as directed by your doctor of optometry. Rubbing the contact lenses with your fingers and rinsing them thoroughly before soaking the lenses overnight in multipurpose solution that completely covers each lens.
- Storing lenses in the proper lens storage case and replacing the case at least every three months.
- Using only products recommended by a doctor of optometry to clean and disinfect lenses.
- Using only fresh solution to clean and store contact lenses. Never reuse old solution.
- Always following the recommended contact lens replacement schedule doctors prescribe.
- Removing contact lenses before swimming or entering a hot tub.
- Never using expired prescriptions or stock up on lenses right before the prescription is about to expire.
- Seeing a doctor of optometry for a regularly scheduled contact lens and eye examination.
We are here for you. Please come in to see us if you ever have a problem with your contact lenses. Do not delay! Avoid problems by treating your eyes with respect!