Are Manufacturer Contact Lens Guidelines Really Important?
Spoiler Alert: The Answer is Yes.
What’s not to love about contacts? They’re easy to use, convenient, and they don’t hide your brilliant eyes. But are you giving them the love they deserve?
According to the CDC, 90% of adults don’t practice good contact lens habits. So, there’s a 90% chance this includes you (trust us, we’ve all been there). Check out these tips to help you prevent gnarly infections and potential eye damage.
Do I Need to Follow the Contact Lens Replacement Schedule?
Yes, it’s important to toss contacts that have exceeded their recommended lifetime. Maybe you only wear your two-week contact lenses once per week or you take exceptionally good care of them so you think it’s ok to wear them for a month instead. This is one circumstance where being thrifty can cause you major problems. Your contact lenses start breaking down from the time you break the seal of the package. Once the lens starts breaking down, the bacteria that is found on your lids and lashes can latch on the lens and cause eye irritation or infection. So, a two-week contact lens is good for 14 days whether or not you wear them every day.
If you’re looking to save money (us too), talk to your eye care provider about prescribing an affordable lens that fits your needs. You can also save up to $120 on an annual supply of contact lenses at Eyeconic.
What if I Use Tap Water Instead of Contact Lens Solution?
There are a lot of situations where water can come in contact with your contact lenses. You ran out of contact lens solution, you jump into a pool without goggles, or you open your eyes a little too far in the shower.
Unfortunately, water is no substitute for contact lens cleaning solution. Even purified tap water can contain bacteria and microorganisms that may cause eye infections. Tap water is also not a disinfectant like contact lens solution, so it does not clean your contacts. On top of that, storing your contacts in tap water also changes the shape of your lenses, which can be very uncomfortable and even cause corneal damage. For the same reasons, it’s important not to swim in your contact lenses, especially since the pool chemicals can damage the lenses.
Sometimes I Wet My Contacts with Saliva…
You forgot your rewetting drops and your contact lens is really dry…you may think of your saliva as a good way to moisten it before putting it back in your eye, but don’t do it! Saliva contains bacteria, and while it may not be harmful for you to swallow, it can cause serious eye infections. Think about it: you have stomach acid to fight off the bacteria; your eye is just a mucous membrane. It’s always best to carry an extra pair of lenses or a contact lens case with solution in it so that you can soak or toss out the dry one instead of putting them in your mouth.
What if I Reuse My Contact Lens Solution in a Pinch?
Reusing solution is also a big no-no. Makeup, dirt, allergens, and bacteria that have accumulated on your contact lenses fall off into the solution. So, if you reuse your solution, you’re “washing” your contacts in what is basically grey water. If you don’t want to deal with cleaning your contacts every day, talk to your doctor about daily contact lenses.
Is it Safe to Sleep in My Contact Lenses?
Sleeping in your contact lenses prevents your eyes from breathing at night. During the day when you’re awake, your eyes are able to breathe because your eyes are open. The air and your tears provide your cornea with enough oxygen. When you’re sleeping, you don’t blink, and your eyes don’t receive oxygen and lubrication. So, you can wake up with an eye infection, discomfort, or your contact can actually get stuck on your cornea and cause a tear.
Contact lens care doesn’t have to be hard. The key takeaway is that your eyes are sensitive to bacteria and it’s important to follow the manufacturer recommended guidelines when caring for your contacts. If you still think these recommendations sound onerous, ask your doctor about daily contact lenses. They require no care since you throw them away at the end of each day. Just remember to wash your hands before you put them in and to take them out before you fall asleep at night. Piece of cake.