Most contact lens wearers now wear daily disposable lenses. These lenses are thrown away every day and are much healthier and more comfortable than traditional lenses. However, for those that haven’t made the switch yet, here are some ways to reduce your risk of serious eye complications.
- Replace contact lenses as directed: I know they may feel OK to stretch for another week, but you are putting yourself at significant risk for corneal infections, hypoxia, and new blood vessel growth on the cornea. Trust your doctor on this one.
- Get a new case every 3 months: Most contact lens cases are anti-microbial, but not forever. Replace your case every time you buy new solution.
- Don’t top off your solution: disinfecting solution is used to disinfect and clean your lens overnight. You wouldn’t reuse bath water each day, so don’t treat your contacts that way!
- DO NOT USE WATER TO STORE CONTACT LENSES: Small parasites and bacteria like pseudomonas live in your tap water and can cause major, permanent damage to your cornea. It is NEVER OK to do this.
- Always wash your hands before handling lenses: this one is self-explanatory.
These complications are real and I see them daily in practice. Contact lenses are safe if used properly. Wearers who don’t follow these rules are usually the ones in my chair with corneal ulcers. Don’t be this person!
Dr. Canaan Montgomery is an optometrist in Paducah, KY. He specializes in specialty contact lenses, Ortho-K, pediatrics and VT, and eye disease management.