Certain habits and activities shorten the life of your prescription contact lenses and could cause possible eye infections. Even little things make you more vulnerable to infections or can cause damage to your contact lenses. Here are some top habits or actions you should avoid when wearing your contact lenses to keep your eyes healthy.
Don't Wear Them While Sleeping
Many contact lenses are marketed as extended wear or as comfortable for sleeping. It's true new contact lenses are thinner and more breathable than earlier versions. However, sleeping with them can still cause eye infections and cornea problems.
Don't Wear Them While Swimming
It is not advisable to wear contact lenses while swimming, bathing, or showering. The reason for this is water could enter the eye and contaminate the lens. Water often contains chemicals and bacteria that could become absorbed or trapped by the lens.
Don't Skimp on Washing Your hands
Always make sure your hands are clean before handling your prescription contact lenses, case, and solution. Bacteria and dirt on your hands transfer easily to your contact lenses and your eyes. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds.
Don't Use Anything Except Contact Lens Solutions
Anything you put in your eye should be sterile and designed to be used in the eyes. Don't use water to rinse out or store your lenses. Definitely don't use your mouth or saliva to re-wet your lenses (and, yes, people actually do that). Use the proper solutions specifically designed for contact lenses.
Don't Share Contact Lenses
This may seem like common sense, but many people still insist on sharing contact lenses. Even if you clean your contact lenses thoroughly, do not share your lenses with anyone else. Sharing used lenses with other people increases the chance of getting an eye infection even if both parties aren't experiencing any symptoms at the time.
Don't Hold On to Old Lenses
As you use your contacts, proteins, bacteria, and residue build up on them and begin to irritate your eye. This increases the chance of getting an infection or damaging your cornea. Most contact lenses have an expiration date as well. Even if you don't use the lenses, the preservative and materials break down and cause problems after that date.
If your eyes begin to get red or irritated, stop wearing your prescription contact lenses and talk to your optometrist. If you continue to wear contaminated or damaged lenses, you could risk more serious and long-term eye problems. If you have questions about how to wear your contact lenses, your optometrist can give you more advice.