When worn and cleaned properly, contact lenses are convenient and safe to use. However, if they’re not handled properly, they could become a point for infection.
To prevent eye infections, patients should keep in mind these safety tips when putting in and taking off their contacts:
Take Off Your Contact Lenses Before Going to Bed
Sleeping with your contacts overnight deprives the cornea (the part of your eye that controls the entry of light) of oxygen. Unlike other organs, the cornea derives its oxygen from the air instead of blood vessels. Without a steady supply of oxygen, your cornea becomes more susceptible to infections. That’s why you should always take your contacts off before going to bed.
Important note: There is an exception to this rule. Gas-permeable contacts can be worn overnight and are often used in vision therapy. For instance, in orthokeratology, patients wear specially designed and fitted lenses at night to temporarily reshape their corneas and correct refractive errors. To learn more about the pros and cons of wearing gas permeable or ortho-k lenses, you should consult your local optometrist.
Take Off Your Lenses Before Swimming
The same goes for swimming, showering, and other water-related activities: you should remove your contacts before swimming. That’s because water—even water from the tap—may be harboring bacteria that can cause infections.
Wash Your Contacts Using a Lens Cleaning Solution
Always use the leans cleaning solution your optometrist gave you. As mentioned earlier, tap water could be harboring bacteria. Not to mention it doesn’t have any disinfectant properties.
Important note: Don’t reuse or top off old cleaning solution. After usage, the cleaning solution loses its disinfecting properties. Always use new solution every time you store your contacts in their case.
Alderwood Optical & Canyon Park Vision Clinic is an optometrist that specializes in eye health and vision correction. To schedule an appointment, call us at (425) 771-8472 or fill out this form. We serve homeowners in Bothell, Lynnwood, and Shoreline as well as the surrounding WA communities.