Do You Take Good Care to Wear Your Contact Lenses Properly?

Soft contact lenses prescribed by licensed eye care professionals are worn safely and comfortably by millions of people around the world. I fit patients of all ages in my practice. My staff and I take the time, as do most eye care professionals, to instruct contact lenses wearers on how to properly wear and care for their contacts. So, when we hear about research which shows that many contact lens wearers are significantly non-compliant in virtually all active steps involved in soft contact lens wear, we are concerned.

What do I mean by “non-compliant?” It covers a wide gamut of things—hand washing, case hygiene, lens disinfection and following your eye care provider's recommended lens replacement schedule.

While contact lenses provide many vision benefits, they are not risk-free if you don't practice good hygiene when handling them or if you don't follow your eye care provider's instructions for taking care of them. Infections in contact lens wearers are often found among individuals who improperly store, handle or disinfect their contacts

In addition to the in-office instruction we give (particularly to new contact lens wearers), we also give each contact lens patient a copy of Healthy Vision & Contact Lenses, a great resource that offers helpful "do's and don'ts" for handling and wearing contact lenses, and offers some easy-to-follow steps on how to reduce the risk of contact lens-related infection through proper use and care of contact lenses as well as lens-care products such as contact lens cases.

Daily disposable contact lens wearers have it easier because you just throw away your lenses at the end of the day and put in a fresh, new pair the next day. But, for those of you who wear reusable lenses, here are a few very important steps you should follow:

  • Always use fresh lens care products and lenses before the expiration dates. Never reuse old solution (sometimes referred to as "topping off").
  • Never, never, never rinse your lenses in water from the tap. Tap water can contain impurities that can contaminate or damage your lenses and may lead to serious infections and loss of vision.
  • Never use saline solution and rewetting drops to disinfect your lenses. And, please don't put your lenses in your mouth to try and wet or clean them.
  • Of course, make sure to immediately seek professional care if your eyes become red or irritated or if your vision changes.

Finally, there are many online tools and apps such as the Acuminder Tool, that send automatic reminders via e-mail and/or cell phone text message on when to change contact lenses, when to buy new contacts and when to schedule an eye exam.

Dr. Stephen Cohen is a paid adviser for VISTAKON® Division Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.
This content was developed with the support of VISTAKON® Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.

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