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The Risky Behaviors of Contact Wearers


Sometimes contact wearers forget to take proper care of their contacts. From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a considerable 99% of wearers have engaged in at least one contact lens risky behavior. These behaviors may seem harmless but can actually lead to problems like eye infections or further visual impairment. Here are a few common behaviors contact-wearers should avoid:

Not washing your hands before you put in the lenses.

It is important to wash your hands with soap and water before handling your contact lenses. Try to avoid hand sanitizers and soaps containing moisturizers that can leave residue. The best soap to use is antibacterial soaps like Dial.

“Topping off” the solution in your case.

When a contact lens soaks in solution, the mixture becomes depleted of its organism-killing biocide, rendering it ineffective for disinfecting your lenses. Use only fresh solution with every use.

Sleeping in dirty contacts.

Did you know that sleeping in contact lenses increases your risk of keratitis, inflammation of the cornea of the eye, by about 6.5 times? This seems harmless but sleeping in contact lenses deprives the eyes of oxygen. However, there are some exceptions like using contact lenses that are specifically designed for overnight like Air Optix Night & Day lenses.

Not taking out your lenses before you swim or shower.

By not taking your contact lenses out before swimming or showering, you put yourself at risk of Acanthamoeba keratitis, which is a rare disease in which amoebae invade the cornea of the eye, resulting in permanent visual impairment. Think of your contact lens as a trap, holding in the amoebae inside your eye. Another safety precaution is to never clean your contacts with tap water; always use contact solution.

Not replacing your contacts and your case every three months.

In order to maintain healthy eye care and avoid bacterial infections, you should replace your contacts every three to six months. Also, make sure to clean, rinse and air-dry your contact case after removing your contacts. It’s also a good idea to submerge the case once a week for a few minutes in boiling water for deep cleaning.

Any of these risky behaviors sound familiar? Here are a few other behaviors with the percentages of adult offenders:

  • Replacing lenses at interval longer than recommended or when problem: 49.9%
  • Replacing contact lenses case at interval longer than recommended: 82.3%
  • Not using contact lenses case: 8.9%
  • Storing lenses in tap water (ever): 16.8%
  • Rinsing lenses in tap water (ever): 35.5%
  • Infrequently or never washing hands before inserting lenses: 3.7%
  • Infrequently or never washing hands before removing lenses: 13.3%

*Information provided by a survey conducted by MPR.

If you have any questions about eye infections or diseases, call our Eye Doctors in Buffalo NY for an appointment today.

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