The Do’s and Don’ts of Wearing Contact Lenses

Are you one of the millions of people in the United States who wear contacts? Beyond the fact that they allow you to see clearly without wearing glasses, there are many other benefits to wearing contact lenses. 

While you may find them more convenient than glasses, there’s more to contacts than simply inserting them in the morning and taking them out each night. There are some actions you should take and some you should avoid to keep your contacts functioning correctly and your eyes healthy. 

Keep reading to learn about the dos and don’ts of wearing contact lenses!

Do: Wash Your Hands Before Handling Your Contacts

man with glasses and contacts in his hands

Your contacts are only as clean as your hands. You can keep your contacts and case impeccably clean, but any time you touch them without washing your hands, you risk introducing bacteria and debris.

When that occurs, you risk developing an infection. Use a basic, unscented soap to wash your hands to avoid introducing potential irritants to your eyes. 

Hold off on using any additional products, such as lotions, until after you’ve finished touching your contacts. Since many towels can also shed tiny fibers onto your hands, opt for a lint-free towel.

The same goes for applying eye makeup, adjusting your contacts throughout the day, or any other time you may touch your eyes. Always wash your hands first!

Don’t: Sleep In Your Contacts

You may be tempted to come home and hop into bed without removing your contacts when you have a long day. You also may find yourself wanting to take a short nap while still wearing them.

contact lenses

While it might feel okay when you’re falling asleep, there’s a chance you won’t be so comfortable the next time you open your eyes. Although thin, contacts are an additional layer that lies on top of your eye. 

They decrease the amount of oxygen and moisture that can flow to the cornea, which protects against infection. During the day, blinking allows you to add some of this oxygen and moisture back in.

However, your eye receives even less oxygen during sleep as it remains closed. Wearing contacts through the night significantly decreases hydration.

It can make you more susceptible to developing an infection as well. Next time you want to catch some Zs, take a few moments to remove your contacts so you can give your eyes the rest they deserve.

Do: Clean Your Contact Lens Case

When was the last time you thoroughly cleaned out your contact lens case? Cleaning your contacts won’t be that effective if you place them back into the same old case day in and day out. 

Many individuals simply add more solution to fill their case back up. However, this means the fresh solution is mixing with the old one, allowing any bacteria or debris to remain.

Cleaning your contact lens case should be part of your everyday routine. Empty it, rinse it out with contact lens solution, and then leave it to air-dry. 

The American Academy of Ophthalmology also recommends replacing the case at least every three months. A clean case means clean contacts and a happy you!

Don’t: Shower or Swim With Your Contacts

woman applying contact lenses

While it may seem harmless, water and contacts don’t mix. Even the tap water that comes out of the faucets in your sink and shower can be home to microbes that can threaten your ocular health, with the potential to cause an infection. 

The same applies to the water in a pool, hot tub, or a natural body of water like the ocean. Water can also make your contacts stick to your eye or change shape. 

This can cause discomfort and even abrasions to the cornea. If you shower in the morning to prepare for the day, wait to insert your contacts until after. 

If you prefer to take an evening shower, take them out before. When you’re planning on going for a swim or soak in the tub, always remove your contacts first. 

Do: Only Wear Dailies For One Day

While it may not sound like a big deal to wear your daily contact lenses for an extra day or two, there can be serious consequences to your eye health. Daily contact lenses are intended for single-use and are thinner than other types of lenses. 

Wearing your daily contact lenses for more than the intended time can lead to an eye infection. They’re also not meant to be cleaned. 

Keep your eyes healthy by throwing away your daily lenses each night and opening up a fresh pair in the morning. 

Don’t: Wet Your Contacts With Tap Water or Saliva

contact lens solution

For the same reason that you don’t want to wear your contacts in the shower or while swimming, it is never a good idea to rinse them or rewet them using tap water. Similarly, your mouth contains specific bacteria that can be harmful if it enters the eye. 

It’s best to stick to using contact solutions and contact-friendly eye drops when you need to clean or remoisturize your contacts. Anything else can damage your contacts and your eyes. 

In addition to carrying a spare pair of contacts or glasses in the event something happens to the contacts you’re wearing, always keep some disinfectant handy. 

Do you have more questions about the best ways to care for your contact lenses and eyes? Schedule an appointment at Eye Associates of Tallahassee in Tallahassee, FL, today!

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