More than 30 million Americans wear contact lenses. But many people aren't using their contacts properly, which can lead to infection and eye irritation.
This is bad news since it means you may end up needing to switch back to glasses. And some eye infections can have a huge impact on your health.
Read on for top contact lens tips so you can make the most of your contact lens and keep your eyes healthy.
If you've worn glasses in the past, you probably already know how contacts can change your life. But it's easy to get slack and fail to look after them properly. This is a big deal. According to the CDC, almost one in five eye infections from contact lenses involved a patient who ended up with eye damage.
In Taiwan, a woman went blind after developing an infection from an amoeba. She left her contact lenses on for six months. Don't do this.
If you're like most people, you're probably really excited to be fitted with your lenses. But remember, contact lenses need to be properly evaluated, fitted and looked after.
Here are some top contact lens tips:
Once you receive your contacts, you still need to see your eye doctor annually. This will allow them to check your eye health and see if your prescription needs to be changed. Your optometrist can diagnose:
This is one of the most important contact lens tips. You'll notice that it's easy to buy contact lenses and related products online without prescriptions.
These are often shipped with the wrong prescription or poorly fitted, which can cause a massive amount of damage to the function of your eye, sometimes leading to irreversible sight loss.
Always buy your contacts from a trusted source. Both lens care products and lenses are medical devices and FDA regulated. Don't be tempted by online retailers.
If you rub your eye, your contact lens may move around. If you're a new contact wearer, you may be worried that it will get stuck behind your eye. This isn't possible since your eye has something called a conjunctiva which covers the inside of your eyelids and eye.
Often, this can cause people to panic and try to manually remove the lens, which can cause more irritation or damage. If you can't see your lens, stay calm, and grab some saline solution. Moisten your eye with a few drops, look in the opposite direction of where you feel your lens, and lift up your eyelid. Once you can see it, gently use the tip of your finger to remove it.
If you notice that this is happening repeatedly, head back to your eye doctor to ensure your lenses fit correctly.
This may seem obvious, but never, ever share contacts. Even if your friend has the same prescription and wants to try out contacts. Even if you've left yours at home and your friend has a spare pair.
Sharing contacts means sharing bacteria and germs. This increases your chances of complications and infections. Each lens is designed to be a perfect fit for one specific eye, and wearing improperly fitting lenses can lead to big problems.
Contact solutions remove deposits, films, secretions, and mucus that build up while you're using them. These things can lead to bacterial growth if you don't remove them properly. Your optometrist will provide you with a disinfecting solution that will keep your lenses clean and safe.
If you find yourself staying overnight last-minute, and don't have your solution, never use tap water. It contains microorganisms and bacteria that can cause serious infections.
When you insert your contact lenses, take the time to rinse your case with your contact solution and leave it upside down so it can fully dry. Toss your case every three months and replace it with a new one.
If you regularly find yourself falling asleep with your contacts in, it's time to consider extended wear lenses. Sleeping in your contact lenses can increase your risk of an infection, especially if they're not approved for continuous or overnight use.
This is one of those contact lens tips that people tend to ignore. While it may seem fine to wear your lenses for longer than the recommended duration, it's not a good idea. Your eye needs constant oxygen, and you can end up causing permanent damage from oxygen deprivation and bacterial infections.
One common question, newbie contact wearers have? How can you tell if your contact is inside out?
Place the contact lens on your finger so it forms a cup. Next, hold it directly up in front of your eyes so you're looking at the side of the lens.
If you can see the lens forms a "U" shape, it's in the right position. If it has a "U" but the top edges are flaring out, it's inside out.
Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before you insert your contacts. Avoid using any oily or scented soaps that could stick to the surface of your lenses, particularly those containing moisturizing lotions or lanolin.
There are few things worse than stabbing yourself in the eye with a mascara wand or eyeshadow brush. But this can be an issue if you're wearing contacts. Instead of flushing right out of your eye, the makeup can stick to the lenses.
Put your contacts on before you begin applying your makeup. Consider using non-allergenic makeup like Clinique or Almay, and choose to use water-based creams instead of oil-based.
If you're using powder, close your eyes while applying it near your eyes and brush off the excess before you open your eye.
If you've always used glasses, contacts will be an amazing change. There are a bunch of options available for you, from daily disposable contacts to bifocals to long-wearing contacts.
With the above contact lens tips, you'll keep your contacts in the best possible condition and ensure your eyes stay healthy.
Are you thinking about getting contacts? Leave a comment below or get in touch to learn about your options.