Many people wear contact lenses to avoid restrictive frame around their visions. Some choose to wear contact lenses over eyeglasses because they find the latter unsuitable, especially in most sports as they can easily fall off. Some are tired of wearing eyeglasses because of the reflections and distortions they get in wearing them, blurry vision they get when water splashes on it, and steaming up when entering a warmer place. Most of the time, people choose contact lenses over eyeglasses because of the comfort it provides. Your vision is a lot sharper with contact lenses and you can have peripheral vision in wearing them.
However, to wear contact lenses, you are required to place it directly to your iris. The downside in wearing them is they put you at much greater risk of infection and eye damage. A common mistake made by users is that they don’t follow instructions on how to clean and disinfect the contact lenses and storage case diligently which increases the risk of eye infection.
A common eye-infection that contact lens wearers are at risk for is Acanthamoeba keratitis. It is a rare disease in which an amoeba, Acanthamoeba, invades the cornea of the eye. Acanthamoeba are naturally occurring amoeba commonly found in water sources such as tap water. Using contaminated tap or well water in cleaning contact lenses is one of the factors that increase the risk of having this type of eye-infection. Acanthamoeba keratitis, although a rare disease, can lead to permanent blindness.
To ensure your safety when wearing contact lenses, follow these tips:
• Always consult your optometrist or eye doctor for contact lens prescription. One-size-fits-all is not suitable when it comes to contact lenses. Not only is it uncomfortable but it can seriously damage your eyes. You can ensure a comfortable fit and prevent eye infections such as corneal abrasion when your contact lenses are properly prescribed by an optometrist.
• Never touch your contact lenses with dirty hands. Always wash your hands when touching your contact lenses. Germs can be prevented by washing your hands. An anti-bacterial soap is essential for keeping your hands clean and germ-free.
• The storage case must be kept clean. Bad hygiene practices are often associated with contamination of microorganisms. To avoid this, discard old solution from the case, rub the case with a clean finger, and rinse the contact lenses with a disinfecting solution. Following these simple steps can avoid the microorganisms from contaminating your contact lenses and the infections caused by these microorganisms.
• Only use a disinfecting solution in cleaning your contact lenses. Do not use a saline solution, simply sterile water. Saline solution will not clean or disinfect your contact lenses. Do not use tap or well water either for they may contain pathogens that might infect your eyes.
• Never sleep with your contact lenses on. Wearing contact lenses for an extended period of time impedes the oxygen flow, more if you have contact lenses and your eyelids are closed. When you do that, it will alter the physiology of the eye which causes the cornea to swell up leading to eye irritation.
• Remove your contact lenses when taking a bath or swimming. The sources of water we use in bathing, such as tap and well water, and bodies of water where we swim can be contaminated with pathogens commonly found in water sources.
• Never reuse contact lens solution. Reusing old solution or cleaning your contact lenses with an old solution has often been linked to cases of Acanthamoeba keratitis.
• Replace your contact lens case at least every three months. Even if you clean and disinfect it by changing the solution, bacteria may still remain. Over time, germs from your fingers and the surrounding environment build up in the case which is why the need for new contact lens case ever three months is essential.
• Replace your contact lenses regularly. Substances found naturally in basal tears such as mucin, lipids, lysozyme, lactoferrin, lipocalin, and many more can build up in your contact lenses making it prone to infection. Old contact lenses can also warp over time resulting in a poor fit and discomfort.
• See your optometrist or eye doctor regularly. Infections that are related to contact lens are mostly caught during a routine examination. If you feel an irritation or discomfort in your eyes, remove your contact lenses and see a doctor. It is not healthy to have these irritations as it can be a sign of an infection.
Follow these tips to ensure that your contact lenses will bring benefits only and no harm to you and your eyes.