Are You Guilty of These Four Common Contact Lens Hygiene Mistakes?

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 15-Sep-2015

An estimated 125,000,000 people across the globe wear contact lenses as an alternative to eyeglasses. While they are a comfortable and convenient way to correct vision, they still require safe handling practices to reduce the risk of eye infections and other complications. Many people are not aware of these risks or of how to prevent them.

According to a recent report, nearly 99 percent of contact lens wearers have been guilty of at least one of the following four risky contact lens hygiene behaviors. Below, we have identified four of the most common contact lens handling mistakes and what you can do to avoid making them.

  1. Swimming and showering with your lenses. Most water sources, including swimming pools, hot tubs, lakes, and even your bathroom tap contain a microorganism called acanthamoeba. If the organism gets into your eye, it could lead to a painful infection that may result in blindness. Contact lenses should ideally be removed before your eyes come into contact with water, but if you have left them in, remove and cleanse them in lens solution as soon as you can.
  1. Sleeping with your lenses. Your eyes need a steady supply of oxygen to keep them healthy. Since contact lenses cover the cornea and restrict oxygen flow, it is advised that contact lenses be removed at night to give the eyes a rest.

Sleeping in contact lenses overnight can cause irritation, discomfort, and possibly an infection, especially if your lenses became dirty during the day. Avoid sleeping in contact lenses at all costs, but if it does happen, immediately remove and clean your lenses when you wake. If you experience eye irritation or soreness, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to make sure you have not developed an infection.

  1. Wearing cosmetic lenses. Colored contact lenses are a popular trend, but many people do not know how to properly care for them, especially those who wear them solely for cosmetic purposes. Because cosmetic lenses contain a thick layer of color, they do not have the same permeability as regular contact lenses and thus do not allow your eye to receive as much oxygen, making them more susceptible to infection.

If you are considering cosmetic lenses, purchase them only from a registered eye doctor, even if they are not prescription. Also, make sure you keep them clean with an appropriate lens cleaning solution and never share them with anyone else.

  1. Wearing lengthening mascaras. Lengthening mascaras do wonders for eyelashes, but they can spell bad news for your eyes. Lengthening mascaras contain tiny fibers that stick to lashes, making them appear longer. The trouble is that these fibers can easily find their way into the eye and, if they make it underneath your lens, cause pain and irritation.

If you choose to wear mascara, be sure to select one without the words “lengthening” in the title. Additionally, because many bacteria live on eyelashes, be wary of makeup products that come in very close contact with your eye. Be sure to replace your makeup frequently to prevent a buildup of bacteria that could jeopardize your vision.

Tired of wearing contact lenses? Key-Whitman Eye Center is also proud to offer the state-of-the-art LASIK vision correction procedure to restore your sight without the use of glasses or contacts. Whether you are nearsighted, farsighted, or suffer from astigmatism, LASIK is a great option that has benefitted approximately 600,000 people per year according to the FDA. If you are over 18 years of age, have healthy corneas, and have not experienced any significant change to your vision prescription over the past year, call Key-Whitman Eye Center today to meet with a doctor and determine whether LASIK is right for you.

Do you have further questions or concerns about your vision? Contact Key-Whitman Eye Center today to schedule your appointment with one of our Dallas/Fort Worth eye doctors: (855) 600-7296.

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