Are Contact Lenses for You?
With recent developments in technology, soft contact lenses are increasingly popular, with millions of people wearing and caring for them every day. Without proper contact lens care, you could be risking infection, lack of oxygen to the eye, and in severe cases, even blindness. It’s important to wear your lenses as prescribed by your eye care professional. Just because your contacts aren’t bothering you, doesn’t mean that you are safe to continue wear longer than directed. Daily disposable contact lenses are typically the safest option. These lenses are worn one day at a time, and should be thrown away after one use, which reduces the risk of infection. Most doctors recommend children begin with these lenses, as they are easier to care for, and require less work. If you are wearing monthly lenses, ensure you’re cleaning them properly and often enough to remove any infection-causing bacteria.
Before handling your lenses, always wash your hands with soap and hot water, and pat dry with a lint-free towel. It’s vital that your hands are dry, as tap water can carry a microorganism called Acanthamoeba. This organism can cause serious eye infections! As Acanthamoeba can remain even after drying, doctors recommend cleaning your cases with multipurpose contact lens solution, rather than tap water. Replacing your contact case is a step often missed; you should replace these cases every 3 months or so to avoid bacteria buildup.
You may use a multipurpose contact lens solution to remove any debris or buildup on your lens after removal as well:
-With the lens in the palm of your hand, place a few drops of solution on the lens
-Rub gently, even if you are using a “no-rub” solution
-Never use an unapproved liquid to clean your lenses, such as saliva
-Always follow directions on the product label unless otherwise directed by your eye care professional.
-If you’re not willing or able to dedicate cleansing time for your lenses, daily wear contact lenses are a wonderful alternative
Be wary of “decorative” contact lenses, such as colored lenses or those sold at costume shops. Seeing as contact lenses are medical devices (whether decorative or not), you should always make sure to obtain a prescription before wearing. You could be risking permanent of damage to your eyes by wearing these lenses without the recommendation or approval of a professional! Remember that while wearing any type of contact lens, you should alert your doctor if you are showing symptoms of infection, which includes redness, eye pain, or decreased vision. It’s important to give your eyes a break from contacts every now and then as well, whether you are showing symptoms of infection and irritation or not. We recommend you have a backup pair of glasses to give your eyes time to breathe in between contact wear!
Keep in mind that contact lenses are not for everyone! Contact lenses cover your cornea, thus, limiting the amount of oxygen allowed into your eye. This can exacerbate dry eye, making contact lens wear very uncomfortable. In some cases, artificial tears can help, so long as you are using drops safe for contact lens wearers. For others, no number of tears can soothe the eye long enough to hold a contact in place comfortably. Some people also have conditions, such as Keratoconus, that make contact lens fitting very difficult. For these individuals, their cornea bulges outwards into a cone, rather than a sphere, making wear very tricky. If you are interested in trying contact lenses, a good first step is to speak with your eye doctor! Your doctor may be able to provide advice and suggestions for contacts based on the health of your eyes and your lifestyle. Do you think contacts may be for you? Give our office a call at (919)282-1100, and we would be happy to set you up for a fitting!