There are plenty of good reasons to choose contact lenses for your vision needs. Users say their contact lenses give them more natural vision than glasses, that they prefer how contacts move with their eye, they don’t have to deal with frames that may obstruct or distort their vision., and they don’t fog up or get wet when it’s cold or rainy. But whether you’re new to contact lenses or have been wearing them for a while, it’s always good to double-check your hygiene practices. Wearing contact lenses may increase your chance of getting an eye infection if you don’t practice strict safety precautions.
Contact Lenses = Medical Devices
Like regular eyeglasses, contact lenses can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. On the other hand, unlike regular glasses, contact lenses sit directly on your eye. That is an important distinction.
These basic practices are essential to keep your lenses performing at their best – and your eyes as healthy as possible:
Don’t Sleep in Them
Unless your provider prescribes it, sleeping in contact lenses may increase the risk of an eye infection. “Overwearing” them is the most common mistake people make. Whether they are daily, bi-weekly, or monthly contact lenses, people tend to wear them longer than recommended, increasing chances of bacterial infection, lens breakdown, and dry eye issues.
Keep Them Clean
Always wash your hands with soap and water and dry them with a clean cloth before touching your contact lenses. Avoid getting water in or on your contacts, as it can introduce germs through the lenses. Take your lenses out before swimming, and don’t wear them when showering.
Use a doctor-recommended contact lens disinfecting solution (not saliva or water) to clean them each time you take them out. Store-brand or generic solutions increase the risk of an allergic reaction and might be inferior when it comes to cleaning.
Meyer also offers a couple of little tricks to help contact lens wearers keep up with their regimens:
- Set an alarm to remind you when to throw away your contacts (every two weeks or once a month).
- Put your contact lens case next to your toothpaste to remind you to take your lenses out at night.
Schedule Yearly Eye Exams
Lens wearers must take extra care to keep their eyes healthy. During a yearly exam, your doctor will:
- Ensure the lenses are still the right fit and are not causing damage to your eyes.
- Make sure the lenses allow enough oxygen to reach your eyes.
- Monitor the risk or presence of an eye infection.
- Detect signs of dryness or scarring that a poor-fitting lens can cause.
- Evaluate the way the lens interacts with your cornea, eyelids, and tear film to maintain your eye’s overall health.
Once you establish best practices, taking care of your contacts is easy. Even if you don’t wear contacts or need corrective lenses, regular eye exams are a must to maintain healthy vision. The Vision Plan from your association and AMBA provides quality coverage with low copays for services you need, including a covered WellVision exam every 12 months. Sign up now at www.AMBAdentalvision.com or call 866-979-0497.