Swimming in a pool with your contacts on or topping off your solution may seem harmless, but they could compromise your contact lenses and your vision.
Below are daily habits to adopt for optimal contact lens care:
Wash Your Hands Regularly
Whether you use daily or monthly contact lenses, make sure to first wash your hands. Placing your finger on some clear tape and seeing the mark you leave will give you some indication of what you’re putting on your contact lenses if you don’t wash and dry your hands beforehand. Avoid using scented or oily soaps, as their residue might stick to the lens surface. Similarly, avoid creams and lotions prior to inserting contacts into your eyes.
This one simple and easy habit can make a massive difference in your eye health and can potentially prevent eye irritation and infections.
Clean Your Contacts Daily
You must clean and disinfect your contact lenses on a daily basis, unless you use daily disposables, of course. There are several cleansing systems and solutions available — the choice depends on the type of lens you use. Speak with Dr. Boaz Schwartz, O.D., FAAO to determine the best cleaning solution for your lenses and eyes.
Avoid Contact with Water
It might seem harmless, but we advise against using tap water, as it contains impurities and microorganisms that can cause infections. Furthermore, tap water can lead your contacts to swell and change their shape. If you must swim with your contact lenses on, make sure to wear protective goggles and clean them with solution when you come out of the pool.
Never Ever Use Saliva
Your mouth is filled with germs, which are fine for your teeth but not for your eyes. Avoid using saliva to “clean” or moisten your contact lenses.
Do Not Top off Solution
Just as you shouldn’t mix spoiled food with fresh foods, you should not top off yesterday’s solution in your contact lens case with fresh solution. The concoction might not contain enough disinfectant to kill off organisms and clean your lenses.
Routinely Change the Contact Lens Case
Many people don’t know about this one, but it’s recommended to change your contact lens case every 2-3 months, as microscopic dirt may linger in the case, leading to contamination and eye infections.
Don’t Sleep with Your Lenses On
It’s important to give your cornea a chance to breathe; sleeping with your contacts may cause redness, soreness and infections. So make sure to remove your contact lenses before you get some shut-eye, unless they’re specialty lenses which are intended to be worn overnight.
If you’re using orthokeratology (ortho-k) lenses to reshape your cornea, do wear them at night or as instructed by your eye doctor.
Get That Annual Eye Exam
Don’t forget to book your yearly eye exam at Mt. Airy Medical Eye Center in Mount Airy, as your vision can change. You can’t purchase new contact lenses with an expired prescription anyway, so you’ll need an updated one when your contact lens supply is running low. Furthermore, getting an exam is also an excellent opportunity to ask Dr. Boaz Schwartz, O.D., FAAO any questions you may have.