Ten Steps to Healthy Contact Lenses and Healthy Eyes
We only get one set of eyes and they have to last us our lifetimes. So, barring the invention of computerised, bionic eyes, we need to take care of our eyes to make sure they remain as fit and healthy as we need them to be.
Thankfully, contact lenses have helped many of us to have better eyesight than nature gave us. Contact lenses are used by millions around the world to treat short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism. But as wonderful as they are, if you want to keep your eyes healthy, you need to make sure you are looking after you lenses properly too. So here are ten steps to healthy contacts and healthy eyes.
Have regular eye exams. Go and see your optician at least once a year for a check-up. You need to make sure that your prescription is still accurate and it is also the only way to detect early symptoms of illnesses such as glaucoma or macular degeneration and can be used to detect the early symptoms of diabetes and even some forms of cancer.
Always buy the right lenses for your eyes. Never buy lenses that don't match your prescription. And always make sure you know how to put your lenses in and take them out.
Keep your lenses clean. Always wash your hands before touching your contact lenses and always, always clean them properly. The best way to clean your lenses is to rub them with the contact lens cleaning solution to remove bacteria and germs, then to soak them in clean contact lens cases in your cleaning solution and finally to rinse them before inserting them in your eyes.
Never, ever use water to clean your lenses. Water actually contains small micro-organisms that can cause eye infections. Read more about swimming with contact lenses.
Keep your contact lens cases clean and replace them every three months. Ideally, do not store your contact lenses in the bathroom as the moist air can cause micro-organisms in the water to enter the case and get onto your lenses.
Never re-use your contact lens cleaning solution. This just encourages bacterial growth and you don't want bacteria growing on your lenses as this could so easily transfer onto your eyes and cause nasty infections.
If your lenses are not in your eyes, they should be in solution in their case. Leaving contact lenses lying about outside their case can cause them to dry out and become brittle.
If your lenses start to hurt you or irritate your eyes, take them out. It could be they just need another clean, so clean them thoroughly then insert them again. If they still continue to hurt you, take them out and go and see your optician at once. This could be a sign of an infection or that the lens is damaged or that not enough oxygen is getting through to your cornea.
Never wear your lenses for longer than the prescribed time. Even if they still feel comfortable, they are no longer as effective as they were and you cannot guarantee that enough oxygen is passing through them to get to the cornea.
Never sleep in your lenses. Unless you have special night time lenses, never sleep with your lenses in. This can cause eye infections such as keratitis, which if left untreated can lead to blindness.