INFECTIONS AND CONTACT LENSES
If you are a contact lens wearer, you have more than likely noticed how far we have come in the development of contact lenses since you started using them. Perhaps you have also been guilty of ignoring the wearing and care instructions from your optometrist. In a recent study 99% of people admitted they practiced at least one bad habit with their contact lenses and that puts them at a higher risk for eye infections.
If you are like many Americans, you have become quite accustomed to your contacts and may sometime forget you have them in. This usually leads to pushing the envelope on wearing them or leaving contacts in at times when you should not. Contaminated solutions can lead to infection. Are you changing the solution in your cases daily?
While contacts are more convenient and provide a greater range of clarity than glasses, improper handling can lead to eye infections.
Depending on the type of contact lenses you have, some of the most common misuses for contacts are:
- Wearing contact lenses overnight while sleeping.
- Napping while wearing lenses.
- Nonuse of a sterile wetting solution
- Topping off your disinfecting solution in lens storage case rather than emptying it and using new solution.
- Using the contact lenses longer than recommended.
- Not replacing the lens storage case at least once every 3 months.
Not surprising that of those surveyed nearly one third of respondents reported having red and or painful eye pain that resulted in a visit to the doctor.
When cleaning your contact case, allow it to fully dry after cleaning with the contact lens solution. Never use tap or sterile water to clean the lens case or contact. Mild pinkeye can be caused by solutions used for cleaning contacts. It is important to clean your contacts thoroughly to remove any virus or bacteria from the contacts after having pinkeye. If the contacts are not thoroughly cleaned, they can re-infect your eye. Do not wear contact lenses until the pinkeye is gone. Sterilize your contacts, and clean your storage case. If you wear disposable contacts, use a new pair when your eye has cleared and it is safe to wear contacts again.
Following these steps along with the recommended use from the contact lens manufacturer will help to prevent eye irritation or infection. If you do find that your eye becomes irritated be sure to take the contact lenses out immediately and use your prescription glasses. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, remove the contact lenses and consult an ophthalmologist immediately if you experience symptoms such as redness, pain, tearing, increased light sensitivity, blurry vision, discharge or swelling.
Enjoy clearer vision with contact lenses, but follow the recommendations for care and cleaning to prevent infection.
About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Bissell Eye Care and Tri-State Low Vision Services, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.