According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 30 million people in the United States wear contact lenses. If you prefer contacts over glasses, chances are you have a mundane routine you follow every morning and evening. However, what you might not realize is that although you think you are wearing and caring for you contact lenses correctly, you could actually be causing serious damage to your eyes. Here are three common contact lens mistakes that you should never make:
Using Any Old Eye Drops in the Medicine Cabinet
If you're like many contact wearers, you struggle with dry eye. Even if you've switched to daily wear contacts or silicon hydrogels, you might still be dealing with the itching, redness and discomfort that sends you running for eye drops.
However, before you reach for drops that are designed to combat dry eye or get the red out of your eyes, you may actually be doing more harm than good. This is because these types of eye drops are formulated to remain on your eyes for only a few seconds. When you apply these products, your eyes naturally begin to tear up, which flushes out the drops and moistens your eyes.
If you are wearing contacts and use an eye drop that is designed to combat dry eyes, the product will become caught between your lenses and your eyes, which can lead to further irritation and redness.
Instead, use a product that is specifically-formulated for contact wearers. Your optometrist can recommend a product, or provide you with other tips to help combat dry eye, such as drinking more water or switching to a different brand of lenses.
Sleeping in Your Contacts
After a busy day of working, kids and errands, you were just too exhausted to bother taking out your contact lenses – even though you know you should. Forgetting to remove your contact lenses at night isn't a big deal anyway, right?
Unfortunately, if you begin chronically sleeping with your contacts on, you can develop a number of serious conditions. One of the most common is called corneal neovascularization, which occurs when your eye is deprived of oxygen for long periods of time. This condition is characterized by swollen blood vessels in the eyes. In serious cases, the vessels in your eyes will become so swollen that you won't even be able to wear contact lenses, at all.
Another more serious condition, corneal ulcers, can also occur, if you habitually wear contacts while sleeping. When you wear contacts for days or weeks at a time, dirt and bacteria will become trapped, which leads to an infection that creates an ulcer on your cornea. If the ulcer erupts, it could lead to severe pain, tearing or even blindness.
As a rule, you should always make sure to remove your contact lenses before you sleep. This will allow you to clean your lenses, and it gives your eyes a chance to breathe.
You Don't Clean Your Lens Case Properly
Even if you are vigilant about cleaning your cleaning your contact lenses, chances are there is another critical step you're skipping: cleaning your contact lens case. Cleaning your contact lens case everyday will help prevent a potentially-dangerous film of bacteria from forming on the lens.
To clean the cases, first dump out any old lens solution. Next, wash your hands before rinsing out the case with clean contact solution. Use your clean finger to clean the bottom of the case. Finally, flip the case upside down and let it air dry.
For many, wearing contact lenses is a part of their daily routine. If you're a contact lens lover, make sure to avoid these common mistakes, and if you have any other concerns, don't hesitate to contact an optometrist. Visit a site like http://allabouteyes.com.