The 10 Most Essential Contact Lens Safety Tips
Are you one of 125 million people worldwide that wear contacts? Yes, a lot of people wear contacts. But, a lot of us don’t actually know enough about contact lens safety.
Our eyes are sensitive. We immediately tear up due to external factors. If the wind is too cold or blows too hard, we tear up. A speck of dust gets in our eyes, we tear up. We don’t use our contacts properly, we tear up. So, adopting unhealthy contact lens habits can lead to serious vision problems.
This article will walk you through 10 important steps for healthy eyes when using contacts.
1. No Contacts While You Sleep
Taking care of your contact lenses every day can be annoying. Going through the motions can seem impossible when you're exhausted. But, no matter how tired you are, you should never sleep with your contacts in.
Wearing contact lenses while you sleep is harmful. Our eyes need proper air flow to fight off infection. When you sleep with the lenses in, you're trapping bacteria right against your eye.
If you've done it a couple of times by accident, there's no need to worry. But, doing this long term will bring unwanted consequences. To make sure this doesn’t happen again you need to create a routine.
2. Create a Routine for Contact Lens Safety
Wearing your contacts for too long, sleeping with them, or other bad habits can wreak havoc on your eyes. Establish a daily and nightly routine for contact lens care. This will help you avoid infection and irritation.
After putting your contacts in every morning make sure to clean the case with solution and let it air dry. Leave the case in a visible spot that will remind you to use it again at night.
Before getting into bed, make a habit of taking out your contacts, cleaning them, and storing them in the case. You can use triggers to remind you to go through these steps. Take out your contacts right after brushing your teeth or before changing into your pajamas. Doing this every day for a week or two will establish the habit.
3. Routine for Inserting Contacts
So, you have a nighttime routine for putting away your contacts. You also need to create a routine for inserting them in the morning. This will help clear away any confusion about which contact goes in which eye, whether they’re the right side up, and more.
- Always wash your hands before you insert (or remove) your contacts. Dry your hands with a clean, lint-free towel.
- Squeeze a bit of solution on each lens after taking them out of the case.
- Gently insert the lenses. If you have different prescriptions for each eye, start with the right eye first. Then the left, or vice-versa. You’ll be less likely to insert the wrong contact into the wrong eye.
- Rinse out your case with fresh contact lens solution (never water) and leave it open to air dry.
- Leave the case in a spot that reminds you to put away the contacts at night.
4. Take Contact Lenses Out Before You Shower
You might be wondering if you can wear contacts in the shower. The answer is you can, but you shouldn't.
But, what if you need the lenses to see in the shower? There are plenty of motions to go through and you need to see what you’re doing. The problem is that water contains organisms and harmful bacteria. If these get trapped under your lenses they can cause infection. One way around this is to have your glasses on-hand, or perhaps more likely, to get used to showering with less than perfect vision. The risks just aren’t worth keeping your lenses in.
This same rule applies to any place where your lenses could get wet, even chlorinated pools. If you’ll be outdoors for an extended period of time bring along some prescription sunglasses. Prescription goggles are another great solution for keeping water out of your eyes. You’ll get to enjoy swimming for as long as you like.
5. Protect Your Eyes From the Sun
Some contacts can make your eyes more susceptible to UV damage. It's important to wear sunglasses every time you go outside. That said, some contacts do come with certain levels of UV protection. Although, most can't replace sunglasses. Still, any protection is better than none if you forget your glasses at home.
6. Always Use Fresh Contact Lens Solution
Beauty and self-care expenses can add up. But, one item you should never skimp on is contact lens solution. This liquid keeps your lenses moist and cleanses them too.
If you reuse the solution, your contacts will be bathing in a germ pool. When you’re not wearing them, store your contacts in their case. Make sure to add fresh solution each time.
7. Tips to Apply Makeup
Getting makeup trapped in your contacts is a nightmare. Still, doing your makeup without your contacts could lead to mistakes. FYI, contacts are safe to wear when applying makeup. But, you do have to follow a few simple rules to make sure you’re doing it safely.
- Never wear eye makeup that goes to your waterline. It’s easy for makeup to end up on your lenses if you do. Use eyeliner only on your lids.
- If you must use powders, keep your eyes shut and try not to inhale. These small particles can irritate your eyes and lungs. The safer bet is to use cream eyeshadow.
- Use very small amounts of glitter. Glitter is the worst offender when it comes to makeup and contacts. It’s loose and sneaky and can end up in your eyes.
8. Make Sure Your Contacts Aren't Inside Out
Applying your lenses inside out isn't dangerous, but you'll notice immediately. Contacts should go in easily and you shouldn't think about them all day.
If you feel them rubbing against your eye, there’s a chance you’ve applied them wrong. Before you insert your contacts, check out their shape on your finger. Contacts should always form a smooth cup. If the lens forms a lip around the edge, flip it.
9. Listen to Your Eyes
Are contacts bad for eyes? There can be some risks associated with wearing contacts, but the pros heavily outweigh the cons. The risks directly relate to their cleaning, maintenance, and wearing instructions.
If you're doing everything right but your eyes are still irritated, remove them. Then, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. Try another brand or change your prescription. Every contact lens wearer is different. You need to find contacts that fit you like a glove.
10. Always Consult an Eye Care Professional
See your eye doctor if your lenses feel uncomfortable and you just can’t seem to make them feel better. Our eyesight changes throughout the years, and you will need to get tested for a new prescription at some point.
Contacts provide a lot of freedom for people with impaired vision. So, preserve your freedom and your eye health by regularly seeing your doctor. They’ll be able to answer any questions you may have about contact lenses and how to safely use them. Not to mention, they can also make sure your contacts fit properly and comfortably.
Want More Helpful Tips?
There is always more to learn about contact lens safety, brands, and how to get the most out of your lenses. As time flies, technologies change and so can your contacts and accessories. If you’re curious about color contacts, solution, or other accessories, your eye doctor or your contact lens provider are great sources for information.