VigorBuddy.com | Top 6 Mistakes People Make When Using Contact Lens | Contact lenses serve as a convenient alternative to glasses, especially for people who live an active lifestyle. Contacts are also a great way to enhance the way you look.
But, like wearing glasses, there are also certain risks attached to contact lenses. Of course, the risks are primarily due to the common mistakes people make when choosing, buying, and wearing these vision-enhancing products.
Whether it’s your first time wearing contact lenses or if you’re planning to get another pair, you have to be aware of these top six mistakes before you buy a pair of contact lenses:
Mistake #1: Sleeping without removing your contacts.
When you’re awake, your eyes are open and constantly blinking. This allows the eyes to get enough hydration and nourishment even as you wear contacts.
However, when you wear them as you sleep, your cornea (the outer layer of the eye where contacts are placed) gets deprived of oxygen. Ever tried accidentally falling asleep only to wake up with “gluey” eyes? The result is the same.
In fact, research published in the Journal of Optometry reveals that sleeping with your contacts on is one of the probable causes of corneal infections, microbial keratitis, and even potentially blinding ocular problems.
Mistake #2: Not following proper lens cleaning and hygiene
When it comes to contact lens cleaning, you have two primary concerns: the proper method of doing so and the right tools to use.
Below is a discussion of these two crucial aspects of contact lens hygiene.
How to Clean Your Contact Lenses Properly
While not visible to the naked eye, microorganisms and debris could get stuck to your contact lenses when you don’t practice proper cleaning measures. That said, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before handling your contact lenses.
After that, you should follow this step by step guide on the proper method of lens cleaning:
- Remove your lenses one at a time. Take one and place it onto your cupped palm to cleanse it thoroughly while keeping it secure. This will help you avoid accidentally losing it during the cleaning process.
- Once in place, apply the cleansing solution on the lens. Using one finger, gently rub it to remove any attached particles.
- Then rinse your lens with a sterile saline solution.
- Finally, put the lens into the case and fill it with a disinfectant solution. Repeat the process with the remaining lens.
Unless you’re using a daily lens, contact lenses should be left to soak in the case overnight prior to reuse. Don’t forget to rinse off the disinfectant solution with a sterile saline fluid before placing it back into your eyes.
Choosing the Right Solution
Think that your tap water is enough to clean your contact lens? Think again.
Although water from your faucet may seem harmless, it actually contains an untold number of bacteria that may harm your eyes. Since it contains a lot of microorganisms, washing your lenses with tap water puts you at risk of developing acanthamoeba infection. This potentially blinding condition is difficult to treat and diagnose.
That said, stick to a contact lens solution that has been approved and recommended by your eye doctor. Notice the different solutions mentioned above? Each one has its own function and should only be used as instructed.
Over time, particles and deposits accumulate on your lenses, some of which can lead to irritation and even allergic reactions (e.g., bumps developing under the eyelid).
The only way to avoid this is to clean your contact lenses regularly and properly with the right solution. Also, make sure to discard any old lens solution and always follow the instructions given to you when you receive your lenses.
Mistake #3: Putting lenses in place using wet fingers
Another common mistake people make with contact lenses is handling them with wet hands. Wetness can make it easier for particles to attach to your fingers and potentially make their way into the lenses.
To avoid this, you need to ensure that your hands are dry before handling your lenses (follow the steps provided earlier on the proper lens cleaning method). It is also recommended that you use a moisturizer-free soap when washing your hands.
Mistake #4: Wearing lenses too long
Wearing lenses too long when they are not designed for this purpose is also a big no-no in proper lense use.
Unless your contacts are made for extended wear, always take them out as prescribed by your eye doctor. If you don’t, you could be compromising your corneas.
Wearing your contacts for too long can lead to deoxygenation, dryness, and swelling of the corneas. When left unchecked, these could also lead to scarring, eye irritation, blurring of one’s vision, and even blindness.
Mistake #5: Not replacing the lenses or lens case as instructed
There are different kinds of contact lenses made to suit your every need, and each has a lifespan or length of use that should be followed. Some are good for a single day, others for several months. Again, this is all about following instructions on the lenses’ package or from your eye doctor.
Besides the lenses, you also need to change the lens case regularly. While it may look clean, you’re not seeing the microorganisms and impurities that have built up in it.
To avoid any issues resulting from a dirty lens case, rinse it with hot tap water or a multipurpose cleaning solution after every use.
Don’t forget to air-dry and wipe it using a clean towel before putting your lenses back into the case. You can also put it upside-down without the caps, with clean tissue underneath to shorten the drying time.
Remember to change your contact lens case every three months or earlier. If you see any cracks on it, replace it immediately.
Mistake #6: Buying contact lenses from unlicensed retailers
Many merchants sell contact lenses online and over the counter, but not all of them are licensed to do so. Remember that there are certifications and seals of approval to help ensure the quality and safety of products.
Buying only from licensed optometrists and reputable companies could help you avoid issues like corneal hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) due to poorly fitting lenses. The long-term use of unregulated lenses may also lead to long-term problems with your eyesight and even vision loss.
To be sure, only buy from people that are regulated and authorized by your local health monitoring agency.
Contact lenses help improve your vision, but you should do your part in keeping your eyes safe. Learn about the most common contact lens mistakes people make, so you can avoid them and the risks they pose entirely.
Firas Saab is the Training Manager at Al Jaber Optical in Dubai, the leading optical and eyewear company in the UAE that offers a comprehensive range of eyewear and optical services across the board, through a wide range of modern optical products and facilities. Firas is an enthusiastic trainer with more than a decade in the retail and optical industry and has recently acquired HND in Business and Management in addition to his Optical qualifications.