Expert eye care in Chicago, Illinois
Your eyes do so much for you every day, show your love and appreciation by taking care of them! When you wear contact lenses, caring for them properly will help keep your eyes and your vision in top shape. However, if you don’t practice correct hygiene and handling with your contacts, you increase your odds of getting a serious eye infection and put your sight at risk.
Read the following contact lenses health tips from our friendly, knowledgeable eye doctor near you to ensure that you give your eyes the attention they deserve:
1. Keep your contacts away from water
Yes, that includes showering, swimming, and rinsing or storing your contact lenses in water. Although water may look clean and sparkling, it’s actually teeming with dangerous germs that can transfer into your cornea and lead to a sight-threatening eye infection. In particular, water-borne bacteria can cause acanthamoeba keratitis, a rare eye infection that can lead to blindness.
Recently, a woman in England was diagnosed with acanthamoeba keratitis after showering and swimming in her contact lenses. An article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, in July 2019, reported how the woman wore monthly disposable soft contact lenses and began to experience painful, blurry vision and light sensitivity in one eye. After two months of these disturbing symptoms, she booked an appointment with her eye doctor.
At her eye exam, it was discovered that her vision in her left eye was only 20/200. By taking a corneal scraping and inserting dye into her eye, her eye doctor was able to confirm a diagnosis of acanthamoeba keratitis. She was treated with antimicrobial eye drops, and the infection cleared up. However, her vision loss remained due to a corneal scar and a cataract that had developed. About a year later, she had eye surgery that was able to relieve all pain and restore her vision to 20/80.
Why is the risk of acanthamoeba keratitis higher for contact lenses wearers?
This uncommon, aggressive eye infection affects only one to two million contact lenses wearers in the United States per year. It shows up more frequently in people who wear contacts because the lenses absorb water and anything contained in that water. As contacts rest directly on top of your eye, they provide a clear path to your cornea. Acanthamoeba keratitis must be treated immediately, because it can damage vision quickly.
To protect against all types of eye infection, our eye doctor near you recommends never coming into contact with water while you are wearing contact lenses!
2. Treat your contact lenses to fresh solution every time you clean or store them.
Never top up used solution with additional new solution to make the bottle last longer! Doing this reduces the cleaning power of your disinfectant, leaving your contact lenses susceptible to bacteria.
3. Don’t sleep with contact lenses, unless your eye doctor lets you
Sleeping with contacts is contraindicated, unless your eye doctor instructs you that your type of contacts is suitable for overnight wear. Many scientific studies have shown that wearing lenses while sleeping raises the risk of eye infection six to eight times higher!
4. Clean your contacts by rubbing them
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, not only should you clean your hands well before touching your contact lenses, but you should also take care to rub your contacts. Rubbing your lenses helps to loosen any bacteria build-up, and studies show it’s a very effective way to reduce your chances of getting an eye infection.
5. Throw out your contact lenses on time
Only wear your lenses for the duration of time that your eye doctor recommends. For example, if you have monthly contact lenses – don’t continue to wear them after 30 days have passed.
6. Air - Dry
Allow contact lens container to air-dry, upside down on a clean tissue.
All of the above tips from our eye doctor will optimize the health of your eyes as you enjoy the clarity and comfort of wearing contact lenses!