Contact lenses are usually a safe alternative to wearing glasses every day. But because they sit right up against the eye, there always is a risk of eye infection involved if you don’t take proper care of your contacts. The last thing you need is to miss work because of a painful eye infection caused by improper contact care. The best way to prevent this is to talk to your doctor and determine the best steps to take for your particular lifestyle and contact usage, but there are some general things you can do on your own to minimize the risk of infection as recommended by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. This article will show you those basic steps.

Risk Factors

First, it’s helpful to know which factors contribute to the risk of your contacts giving you an eye infection. One of the most common causes is leaving contacts in the eyes too long. Most people with contacts know not to do this but, in the often-stressful daily grind, sometimes sleep deprivation can get the better of reason and remembering to take your contacts out before bed. And while extended-wear lenses have gained popularity recently, these are still not safe to leave in the eyes overnight. In fact, they can be even more of a risk as people often think they’re safe to leave in overnight.

Other factors include reduced tear exchange under the lenses. This can cause irritation even if the contact is only used for short periods of time. Environmental factors also play a role, as dust or sand can come between the eye and the lens and cause problems. Poor hygiene also plays a role; cleaning and maintaining both your contact lenses and your eyes themselves is extremely important. And lastly, the type of contact lenses used can affect the risk of infection. It’s generally agreed that Single-use daily disposable lenses are safest, with rigid gas-permeable varieties being safer than soft lenses. Regardless of your risk eyeglasses San Marcos TX factors, however, there are steps you can take to help prevent infections.

Lens Care

The most important yet easily overlooked step to remember is, every time you’re about to handle your contacts, wash your hands with warm water and soap before drying them with a lint-free towel. It’s important that no water or particles of any kind get on the lenses. Speaking of water, it’s also important that the lenses come in contact with as little water as possible while in the eyes; be sure to take them off before swimming or getting into a hot tub. Never try to clean your lenses with saliva, saline solutions, or any type of water as these are not sterile. Instead, rub them with your fingers before rinsing them with some fresh solution. Air dry only.

A few more tips to remember are to never re-use old solution to clean the lenses. Go with fresh solution every time. Keep the solution bottle tightly closed at all times to make sure it remains sterile. It’s also a good idea to replace your contact case every three months—never use cracked or damaged cases. Caring for reusable contacts takes a lot of work and shouldn’t be something you blow off. If you don’t use contacts too often, single-use daily disposable lenses may be best for you.

Eye Care

Preventing eye infections and vision loss doesn’t stop at contact lens care. It’s just as important to set time aside to care for your eyes. The most important thing to remember here is, if you’re wearing contacts and your eyes become red, swollen, or start to feel any pain, blurry vision, or light sensitivity, see a doctor immediately. These might be minor irritation or could be the beginning of a serious infection, so it’s better to play it safe.

A few other things to keep in mind are to consider quitting smoking if you have the habit. Studies have suggested that smoking can increase the risk of contact wearers developing eye problems. Also be sure to avoid decorative lenses like those sold at costume shops; these can be very dangerous and cause permanent eye damage. Getting regular eye exams is also a good idea for everyone and, if you wear contacts, you should see an eye doctor at least once a year.

Caring for your contacts can be a commitment, but it’s well worth it to prevent serious problems down the road. And while the guidelines listed in this article are good things to keep in mind, the most important thing to do is to keep in contact with an eye doctor. If you live in the area need some help finding a good eye care provider, the eye product retailer Blue Moon Optical is a good place keep in mind as they can find eye care providers that are best for you and make recommendations. This would be a good idea, as having a good eye doctor is the most important part of caring for your eyes and contacts.

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