Safety Precautions for Contact Lenses
With glasses, the corrective lenses are held in a frame that sits a short distance in front of your face. Contact lenses work differently. The lenses actually rest directly on your eyes, making them virtually invisible. However, this also creates risks. To protect your vision and eye health, you’ll need to follow safety precautions for contact lenses. What do you need to know?
Get a Prescription
Contact lenses are prescription medical devices, and they’re regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As the FDA points out, you’ll need to see an eye doctor to get a prescription so that you can get the right lenses for your eyes.
Wash Your Hands First
How do you reduce your risk of eye infections? One obvious way is to minimize the chance of transferring germs that might be on your hands to your eyes. As WebMD indicates, washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water before you touch your contact lenses to insert or remove them is key. You’ll also need clean hands when handling your lens case. Ideally, you’ll want to use an antibacterial soap with minimal additions. You don’t want to have anything that might irritate your eyes or cause your lenses to stick to your fingers. Soaps with scents, oils, or added moisturizers may be problematic. Also, be sure to dry your hands fully. Choose a lint-free towel for the job to avoid fuzz issues.
Be Serious About Contact Lens Solution
Because of the way they rest on the eyes, contact lenses need to be kept clean, wet, and fresh. Contact lens solution is specifically designed for the job. It’s sterile and has disinfecting properties. As the American Academy of Ophthalmology makes clear, you shouldn’t accept substitutions. When cleaning and disinfecting your contacts, remember the following:
- Saliva isn’t sterile, so never use spit.
- Water, saline solution, and rewetting drops aren’t disinfectants. Don’t use them in place of contact solution.
- Use new solution every time you clean your lenses.
- Ensure that the tip of the contact solution bottle doesn’t touch anything. Keep the bottle closed tightly when it’s not in use.
- Never transfer contact solution to a different container. If you do, it will no longer be sterile.
Don’t Shower or Swim While Wearing Contacts
Clean water isn’t free of germs, and those germs can stick to contact lenses and cause devastating eye infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, contact lens wears are at increased risk of Acanthamoeba keratitis. This severe eye infection, which is caused by an organism called acanthamoeba that’s found in water, can be incredibly painful and challenging to treat. It can also cause blindness. To safeguard your eye health, don’t shower or swim while wearing contacts.
Schedule Regular Exams
Regular eye exams are an invaluable chance to get a professional opinion and review your situation. What should you expect during the visit? The University of Utah offers these suggestions:
- Your eye doctor should verify that your prescription is still accurate.
- They should check that the lenses allow enough oxygen to reach your eyes.
- They should evaluate your eyes for signs or risk of infection, drying, or scarring.
- They should consider the way your contacts interact with your eyelids, corneas, and tear film to impact the overall health of your eyes.
There’s no doubt that contact lenses can help you see the world more clearly. Following a few basic safety precautions is a small price to pay for the freedom and flexibility these lenses offer.
Would you like to learn more about wearing contacts? If you live in southwest Missouri, stop by Heffington’s. Since 1975, the Heffington family has been assisting the Springfield community with top-quality eye care and affordable eyeglasses and contacts. One of the unique features of our family-owned business is that we manufacture lenses at our own laboratory, giving us total control over the service and pricing, and we’re happy to pass our savings on to you. To learn more about our products and services, please get in touch with us online, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a call at 417-869-3937 (Optiland location) or 417-882-3937 (House of Vision location). We look forward to hearing from you!