Contact lenses are one of the big healthcare innovations for those with struggling eyesight. More convenient than glasses, comfortable to wear, and giving the illusion of 20/20 eyesight, they’ve become a cornerstone of the optical industry. Plus, of course, you can really change your look with a pop of color if you’re so inclined. How do you make sure your long-term contact usage isn’t hurting your eyes, however? Let’s look at some tips.
One of the most critical factors in wearing color contacts is that they fit properly to start with. As anyone who remembers ‘hard’ contacts will already know, having a shaped disc lying on your eye can slowly affect the shape of the underlying eyeball unless it’s correctly fitted for your eyes.
Additionally, if there’s a point of contact that’s not quite the right fit, it can wear on the delicate membranes of the eye and cause long-term damage. Always get your contacts fitted by an optical professional.
Choosing a high-quality, premium color contact or clear prescription contact brand also ensures a better fit and higher quality control.
Cleanliness is another critical component in wearing contact lenses safely. You should never insert, remove, or even adjust your contacts without thoroughly washing your hands. Additionally, use a lint-free cloth to dry your hands so you don’t introduce foreign particles to your eye. If you drop a lens, make sure you clean it thoroughly according to the optometrist’s recommendation before reusing it. And when in doubt, throw it out. This prevents particles and bacteria from being introduced to your sensitive eyes.
Remove your lenses before swimming or showering; never use plain water to hydrate or clean your lenses. Not only is most water not clean enough to avoid bacteria (including drinking and bottled water), but it also leads to degradation of the lens surface that can damage your eyes with time. Only ever clean and store your lenses in an FDA approved multi-purpose solution.
Take a Day Off
Set aside one day a week when you don’t wear your lenses, possibly on a weekend or rest day. This allows your eyes time to rest, alleviates lens pressure, and allows extra oxygen to reach the eye surface.
Even the best contact lens brands can dry out the eye surface because less of your natural tears reach the delicate eye surfaces. Use ‘tears in a bottle’ or contact lens-approved lubricating formulations to give your eyes a little hydration boost and keep your lenses comfortable. Remember that intense concentration on screens strains the eye, too, and most of us blink less when working with screens.
Don’t wear your contacts longer than is advised by the manufacturer, and replace them on the stated timeline. Typically, lenses are daily, weekly, or monthly. Don’t try to stretch the budget and skimp on replacement. The lens surface will deteriorate over time and can lead to infections and fit issues once they’re past their prime.
It’s worth making the effort to care for your contact lenses, so you have many happy years of wearing them ahead. Don’t forget to get regular optometrist checkups, too, especially if you’re wearing them to correct vision issues, as your eye needs can change over time.
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