4 Bad Contact Lens Habits That Can Lead to Eye Infections

Contact lenses correct your vision without hiding your eyes behind eyeglasses. While most women, men, and teens choose contacts to enhance their attractiveness, nothing’s attractive about infected eyes.

If you want to wear contact lenses, be sure you’re committed to taking care of them and adopting good habits when handling and wearing them. Otherwise, you could scratch your cornea or develop a bacterial infection called keratitis, which may result in scars, blurry vision, or even blindness.

At ReVision Optix, expert optometrist Sean Stevens has 12 years of experience helping women, men, and teens get clear, healthy vision with contact lenses. He recommends avoiding the following bad contact lens habits to keep your eyes healthy and infection-free.

Bad habit No. 1: Wearing your contacts for too long

Daily-wear lenses

Soft or hard daily-wear lenses are only designed to be worn for a maximum of 16 hours, depending on your comfort level. After that time, take out your lenses, clean them, store them, and switch to eyeglasses to correct your vision if needed. 

Don’t wear your contacts when you sleep, not even if they seem soft and comfortable. These lenses prevent your cornea from getting enough oxygen. The lenses also tend to dry out when not being constantly washed with tears through blinking, making them more liable to scratch your cornea.

Extended-wear lenses

Extended-wear lenses are specially designed to allow more oxygen to pass to your cornea. They can be worn 24 hours a day, including during sleep. However, be sure to take a break of at least one full day before switching to a new pair of lenses to give your eyes a rest. 

Dr. Stevens advises taking out extended-wear lenses before sleep, anyway. You can then wear each pair for up to two weeks before discarding.

Wearing lenses past their expiration

No matter what type of contact lens you get, Dr. Stevens explains how often you should change them or — in the case of soft, disposable lenses — throw them away. True daily-wear soft lenses should be thrown out each day. 

Change your extended-wear lenses according to the schedule Dr. Stevens gives you. Wearing lenses for longer than the recommended time wears out the materials so they don’t correct your vision as well and may scratch your cornea.

Bad habit No. 2: Not cleaning contacts or cases properly

Be sure to wash and rinse your hands and fingers thoroughly before applying, removing, or cleaning contact lenses. Even if your lens cleanser is advertised as a “no-rub” solution, you should still gently rub each contact lens in a small puddle of solution in the center of your palm. The solution helps break down scratchy salts that accumulate on your lenses after hours of wearing them. 

After you gently rub each contact lens with your finger for a few seconds, be sure to rinse them well with solution and cover them with solution in their case to keep them moist. Also, clean your contact lens case periodically. Dirt, grime, and dust on the outside of the case could get trapped in the lens wells and damage a lens enough so that it could scratch your cornea or cause irritation.

Bad habit No. 3: Reusing cleansing solutions

You may be tempted to save money by keeping the cleaning-and-soaking solution in your contact lens case after you apply your lenses so you can reuse the solution at night. Don’t. The old solution is filled with the dissolved salts from your contacts and is no longer clean or sanitary.

After you apply your lenses, throw out the old solution. Rinse your case with fresh solution before closing the tops and storing it. Replace your case every three months, or whenever it gets cracked or damaged.

Bad habit No. 4: Ignoring symptoms

If you wear contact lenses, don’t ignore symptoms that point to an eye infection. Call Germantown Vision Care if you experience:

With proper care, contact lenses let you see while being seen. If you’re thinking of getting contact lenses or have questions about the ones you have, call us today to schedule an appointment.

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