September 18, 2020 by Adrienne Sylver
Contact Lens Health Requires Your Focus
More than 45 million people in the U.S. wear contact lenses. For the most part, they are convenient and easy-to-use during work or play.
While contacts are a safe and effective form of vision correction, they are not entirely risk-free —especially if they are not cared for properly, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, which has designated Aug. 19-23, 2019 as Contact Lens Health Week.
“Contact lenses are medical devices, and failure to wear, clean, and store them as directed can increase the risk of eye infections,” the CDC states.
Eye infections caused by improper wearing or caring of contacts can be serious.
“We see a lot of contact lens problems,” says Mark Feldman, M.D., an ophthalmologist with the Baptist Eye Surgery Center at Sunrise. “In our practice, we see about 150 contact lens infections a year of the cornea. These are very serious infections that can lead to the loss of vision in the affected eye.”
Here’s what contact lens wearers need to know, according to the CDC.
- Wash and dry your hands before touching your contacts.
- Don’t sleep in your contacts (unless your eye doctor tells you it’s OK).
- Avoid wearing contacts while showering, swimming, or using a hot tub.
- Rub and rinse your contacts with solution each time you clean them. Never use water or spit!
- Never store your contacts in water.
- Replace your contacts as often as your eye doctor says.
- Rub and rinse your case every day with solution, dry with a clean tissue, and store upside down with the caps off.
- Get a new case at least every three months.
- Only use fresh disinfecting solution in your case—don’t mix new with old.
- Use only the solution your eye doctor tells you to use.
Your Eye Doctor:
- Visit your eye doctor once a year— or more often if needed.
- Ask questions about how to care for your lenses and case.
- Take out your contacts and call your eye doctor if you have eye pain, red eyes, or blurred vision.