August 20-24 is Contact Lens Health Week! Three areas we would like to emphasize about contact lenses are hygiene habits, safety with contact lenses and supplies, and regular eye exams. #ContactLensHealth-week.
Contact lenses are an incredible tool for helping many of us live our best lives. But, if not taken care of properly, they can cause issues for our eyes. Here are three quick tips on making sure you’re taking care of your lenses, eyes, and vision!
Rules to Prevent Side Effects from Contact Lenses:
#1 Lens Hygiene – Wash your hands!
The number one thing you can do to help prevent any problems with your lenses is to wash your hands with soap and water every time before handling your lenses. Pay special attention to cleaning the tips of your fingers and thumbs as they are typically the areas contact lenses touch the most during the handling process. Make sure to rinse an extra few seconds in order to ensure no soap remains. Nothing can make your eyes irritated faster than getting residual soap on your contacts! Additionally, avoid soaps that have perfumes or lotions as they can leave residue on your fingers even when they are fully rinsed away. Finally, make sure those hands are bone dry before handling your lenses. Exposure of your lenses to tap water can put your eyes at risk for irritation.
#2 Lens and Care Product Safety – Use as Directed!
Both contact lenses and care products are engineered for a specific purpose. If they are used in ways other than originally intended, you could be setting yourself up for trouble. Only wear your lenses for the approved wearing schedules. Daily disposables should not be disinfected and reused. The material degrades in the cleaning solution and can irritate your eyes. Lenses that are replaced monthly shouldn’t be worn for three months. Damage has already been done if your eyes are starting to feel uncomfortable due to a pair of lenses you’ve “stretched out” on wearing time.
Don’t abuse your care products either. All solutions have a specific set of instructions in the package insert that details how to use the product. Some involve rinsing, rubbing and soaking the lenses for a specific amount of time. Most folks miss at least one step in the cleaning process simply because they weren’t aware of it! If you plan to use a solution other than the one recommended to you by your doctor, check in with them first. Often times we make recommendations to optimize comfort. Changing the solution you use can compromise that.
#3 Routine Exams – Are you free next Friday?
Handling and cleaning your lenses properly will go a long way to maintaining your ocular health and good vision. But just like the fact that washing your car frequently doesn’t keep it running forever, caring for your lenses properly isn’t the whole picture. You have to bring your eyes into the shop on a routine basis to ensure everything is working well “under the hood”. Annual contact lens and ocular health exams are a crucial part of wearing lenses. At these visits, we confirm that the lenses you are wearing provide the optimal comfort and vision for you. We also examine your eyes comprehensively to look for ocular disease or other vision disorders. By performing these exams every 12 months, we can detect problems quickly and initiate proper treatment before temporary problems turn into permanent ones.
Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be well on your way to making your “peepers,” keepers!”