Recent health reports stated that the majority of people who wear contact lenses don’t clean them as often or as well as they should. Those who wear disposable soft lenses intended for two weeks worth of daily vision correction are especially bad at caring for their contacts.
When contact lenses are not cared for properly, wearers are at risk for a number of problems in addition to discomfort. Bacterial infections are the most abundant issues with dirty contacts that range from conjunctivitis (also known as “pink eye”) to E. coli. While pink eye can be quickly relieved with cleaning lenses and eye drops, more severe infections can lead to blindness.
Unfortunately, most people don’t even realize they are jeopardizing their vision and health with their current habits. When visiting your eye doctor for a prescription for corrective lenses, be sure to go over the best practices to ensure the safety of your eyes.
Most Common Mistakes People Make
- Wearing two-week lenses longer than two weeks
- Swimming while wearing contacts
- Showering while wearing contacts
- Reusing cleansing solution
- Never replacing contact lens storage case
How to Clean Contact Lenses Before Wearing Them
- Before you even handle contact lenses, wash your hands with soap and warm water.
- Dry hands off with a towel that doesn’t leave fuzzy fibers on your fingers.
- Gently rub your lenses with your fingers.
- Fill your palm with enough solution to submerge the lens completely.
- Using one finger, move the contact lens back and forth in the solution.
- To clean the other side, flip lens and move it back in forth in solution in your palm.
- Make sure contact is flipped to the correct side before placing in your eye.
- Place contact lens in your eye.
- Dispose of used solution in lens case and allow case to air dry.
How to Clean Contact Lenses After Wearing Them
- Using a clean and dry lens case, fill ¾ of each side with solution.
- Remove contact lens from your eye and place it in your palm.
- Pour solution in your palm on top of the lens.
- Using one finger, gently move lens back and forth in solution.
- Clean the other side of lens by flipping it over and moving it in solution.
- Place lens in solution-filled lens case. Make sure it is submerged completely.
- Tighten the lid of lens case for safe keeping.
- Repeat with second contact lens.
- When both contacts have been stored in lens case, wash your hands with soap and warm water.
Following these steps can easily reduce your risks of irritation, infections, and vision loss. Many people are surprised to know that they should discard contact lens storage cases at least every three months. An easy way to remember would be to replace your lens case when you replace your toothbrush (also good to get replace at least every three months if not monthly).
Author Mark Masters. He writes for Broberg Eye Care, an ophthalmologist in Austin TX who has provided comprehensive eye exams and treatment of eye diseases for more than 20 years.