Contact lenses are one of the most popular and effective solutions for refractive eye errors with more than 45 million people choosing them to correct their vision. Contact lenses work by changing the way that light passes through the eyes, ensuring that refractive errors are corrected, and patients can see clearly without blurriness or distortion. However, since they are placed directly on the surface of the eyes, it is imperative that your contact lenses are completely clean and handled with care. This responsibility starts with you.
What makes clean contact lenses and contact lens health so important?
Unfortunately, failing to ensure the cleanliness of your contact lenses could see the health of your eyes, your vision, and even your general health compromised. This is because many of the microorganisms capable of causing disease, known as pathogens, enter our bodies through the mouth, nose, and eyes. If your contact lenses aren’t properly cleaned and disinfected before use, or you touch them or your eyes with dirty hands, you are at very real risk of transmitting harmful pathogens into your eyes where they can then enter the bloodstream and pass around your body, making you sick.
By ensuring absolute cleanliness when handling contact lenses and touching our eyes and face, we take to protect ourselves from the many diseases and viruses that could possibly affect the health of our eyes and body.
Following the cleaning instructions provided by your eye doctor
When you first take ownership of your contact lenses, your eye doctor will explain everything that you need to know about taking care of your lenses. This includes how to clean them, (unless you have daily disposables), how to put them in, how to remove them, and how to store your lenses when they aren’t in use. Nevertheless, over time many people get a little lax in their habits, and when this happens it makes contracting infectious diseases much more likely. To help you to make sure that your eyes are as healthy as they can be, here are few reminders about the best way to keep your contact lenses clean.
Clean your contact lenses well
Daily contact lens cleaning is needed for all varieties except disposables. This removes any dirt or pathogens that may have accumulated on them during the day. Use the disinfecting solution recommended by your eye doctor and soak them overnight for the minimum time period specified. Completely empty and replace your disinfecting solution every day rather than simply topping it up – as there could be harmful pathogens still in the solution from the previous day.
Clean your case too
It isn’t only the contacts themselves that need cleaning. Disinfecting the case is just as important and this should also be carried out using your contact lens solution. Let it dry naturally by leaving it open and turning it upside down and remember to replace your case every few months.
Wash your hands properly
Handwashing is essential and should take place before you place your contacts into your eye and before you remove them. Use soap and warm water and scrub them for at least 20 seconds and make sure that they are fully dry before you touch your contact lenses.
Don’t sleep or shower/swim in your contact lenses
Unless you are undergoing a specific treatment which involves wearing contact lenses overnight, such as orthokeratology, you should avoid sleeping in your contact lenses where possible. This is because studies have shown that patients that do are much more likely to go on to develop eye infections. Similarly, experts advise not to get your contacts wet as water can introduce germs to the eyes through them. This means remembering to take them out and store them properly before you shower or go swimming.
If you have any questions or concerns about looking after your contact lenses or the effect that your lenses are having on your eyes, don’t delay in speaking to your eye doctor for further advice. With the right care, contact lenses continue to be a very safe and effective way to correct and optimize your vision.