When using contact lenses it is important to understand how to take care of your lenses. Taking good care of your lenses will not only allow you to use your lenses for a longer duration but will help reduce the possibility of getting eye irritation or worse still an eye infection from improper use of contact lenses. This is why it is essential that you learn and use good hygienic methods to care for and handle your contact lenses properly.
When dealing with anything that will come in contact with your delicate eyes it is vital that cleanliness and hygiene is the first and most important aspect of handling your lenses. Many people underestimate the importance of having clean hands when handling contact lenses and they often forget to regularly change their contact lens solution and case.
Poor hygienic practices can detrimentally affect your eye health and can lead to serious eye infections and vision problems such as keratitis. Keratitis is an infection that occurs when germs invade the cornea, the clear dome that covers the coloured part of the eye. The infection can cause pain, inflammation and scarring of the cornea which can lead to vision problems.
Other serious eye infections that you could develop as a result of poor contact lens hygiene include the tough to treat staphylococcus aureus orpseudomonas aeruginosa, which is a fast-growing bacterial infection that can lead to a hole in your cornea. Unfortunately, anyone who gets this infection has a high chance of permanent scarring and vision loss.
Keep an eye out for signs of infection
Your vision is too important to risk long-term damage from an infection. If you have the following signs or symptoms you need to get checked out by a doctor immediately.
- Red eyes;
- Painful eyes;
- Watering or discharge;
- Light sensitivity;
- Blurred vision or the sensation the a foreign body is in your eye.
These can come from bacteria in your eye from your contacts.
Below is list of tips on how to care for your coloured contact lenses properly.
- Always wash your hands with a mild soap or hand wash before handling your lenses to make sure your hands are clean and free from any foreign substances when handling your contact lenses.
- Dry your hands with a lint free towel before touching your lenses.
- Use a contact lens applicator to handle and apply your lens to your eyes so you avoid touching your lenses with your hands which will reduce the chance of getting bacteria, oils and foreign objects on your lens.
- Use a quality contact lens solution which will sanitise and safely store your contact lenses for future use. Some solutions might not work well with your lenses or eyes. If your contact lens solution is causing stinging or burning then throw it out and get another brand.
- Do not use water to store or clean your coloured contacts under any circumstances.
- Change your contact lens solution every time you use your lenses to ensure the lens remains free from foreign objects that could get into your eye and cause irritation.
- Handle your lenses gently to avoid rips of tears in the lens.
- If you feel there is residue on the lens, soak, and rinse your lens with solution until you feel any residue or foreign object is no longer on your lens.
- Don’t wear your lenses for a prolonged amount of time (9+ hours). This give your eyes the chance to get more oxygen and will reduce eye irritation, sensitivity and blood shot eyes in the long run.
- Regularly change your contact lens case, follow the contact lens instructions provided along with your contact lenses or by your eye doctor and, dispose of expired lenses in a timely manner.
- Do not sleep in your coloured contact lenses because it can lead to eye irritation, dry eyes, limit vital oxygen to your eyes, and can contribute to the growth of pathogens which can lead to eye infections.
The most important thing is to understand that having good contact lens care means looking after your health. You don’t want to risk causing unnecessary eye problems or vision loss when you can simply and easily follow proper contact lens care, cleanliness and hygiene practices to reduce your risk of having an eye infection.