Common Contact Lens Mistakes
Contacts are supposed to make life easier. They're generally more convenient than glasses, but that convenience comes with a cost. It's almost too easy to make common contact lens mistakes that could be hurting your eyes. And that's kind of scary to think about. After all, how can something so small, something that you can't even feel, and something that is supposed to help you potentially cause so much damage? Well, for the most part, it comes down to proper care. Previous studies have found that more than 99 percent of people who wear contact lenses are guilty of at least one risky behavior that can set the stage for serious eye infections. These behaviors are so common because people can get away with them several times before something bad happens.
Read on about these common mistakes and why it's important for you to avoid them too:
Wearing your contacts past expiration date
Half of contact lens users wear their lenses longer than recommended. Waiting until they become annoying has potential to lead to a serious risk when it comes to eye health. You probably think you're getting more bang for your buck by using old contacts, but this can lead to expensive medical bills later on. Old lenses become coated with germs and the build-up of solution, proteins, and other residues. This makes lenses uncomfortable to wear, and can lead to infection.
Opting for cheaper lenses
Not all contact lenses are the same. Opting for a cheaper product may not be what is specifically recommended for your eyes.
Sleeping in contact lenses
Several manufacturers will claim there are lenses that are much safer to sleep in than others — referred to as "extended wear.” Users will start to fall into the habit of sleeping with their contacts on, and wake up with dry eyes, and blurry vision. However, a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 25 percent of eye infections are due to modifiable risk factors, “including occasionally sleeping in contacts or wearing them for long periods of time, whereas few reports were associated with problems with the contact lens itself, such as the lens being ripped or torn.” Extended wear deprives the cornea — the outside layer of the eye that the contacts cover from oxygen. Overnight wear will likely lead to irritation and discomfort, and at worst — a serious infection. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Optometry found sleeping in contacts was the probable main cause of microbial keratitis.
Cleaning your lenses with dirty hands
The cleanest, daily disposable lenses are all for naught if wearers do not wash their hands before handling their lenses. There was a case with a teenage patient with daily disposable lenses who persistently would be treated for corneal infiltrative events (CIEs). It was later learned the teen's hands were never washed before handling lenses.
All of the things that could happen to your eyes due to mistakes you might make with your contacts are pretty scary. But knowing how to care for your lenses and when to remove them will help you continue to see clearly. Avoid making these 4 common contact lens mistakes for better eye health.