I’ve worn contacts since I was 14 so wearing them is kind of second nature to me at this point. A few years ago I started having trouble wearing my contacts through to the end of the day. By late afternoon my contacts were dry and my eyes were sore. I hate wearing my glasses (and I’m just about blind) so that was driving me nuts.
After a visit to my optometrist I found out that I’d been making some rookie mistakes with my contacts. I had gotten lazy because I’d been wearing contacts for so long and was doing some things that were causing my contacts to irritate my eyes.
Wearing my glasses was turning me into a crazy person so I was willing to make any changes I needed to in order to make my contacts work for me again. Today I’m back to wearing contacts full-time and I’m so glad I can keep my glasses tucked away in the bathroom drawer.
5 Essential Rules if you Wear Contacts
- Give your eyes a break. Your eyes need oxygen and wearing contacts 24 hours a day doesn’t give them much of a chance to breath. Avoid sleep in your contacts and don’t leave your contacts in longer than the recommended time. I was routinely forgetting to take my contacts out at night and even when I did I was wearing my contacts for 14+ hours a day. Apparently I’m not alone. According to the American Optometric Association’s 2015 American Eye-Q® Survey, more than half (59 percent) of Americans wear disposable contact lenses longer than the suggested duration. This bad habit can cause permanent eye damage from bacterial infections and oxygen deprivation.
- Clean and rinse your contacts well. Contacts need a good cleaning every time you take them out. When you wear them, mucus, secretions, films or deposits can build up on the lens (yuck!) and only a good multi-purpose solution will get those off. I made it easy on myself and switched to daily contacts because I was having so many problems with eye infections. That was one of the best decisions I could have made.
- Wash and dry your hands before touching contacts. I’m good about hand washing. I spent enough time teaching my kids to sing their ABC’s while washing their hands to know the drill. BUT because I am bad about remembering to take my contacts out at night I’d often remember when I was already in bed and just pop my contacts out right then and there. Not a good move. I had nearly constant eye infections and the lining of my eye used to swell up so badly that I couldn’t wear my contacts the next morning. A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found nearly one-third of contact lens wearers report going to the doctor for red or painful eyes related to wearing contact lenses so it’s a common problem. Don’t mess around with your eyes. Make it a rule that you don’t touch your eyes without washing your hands . . . ever.
- Use fresh solution to store contacts. I’m a penny pincher. I like to limit waste as much as I can so I can avoid spending. I used to routinely reuse my contact solution to store my contacts. Now that I’ve switched to the daily use contacts I don’t have to worry about that (see, it was just a smart move all-around for me).
- Don’t shower with contacts in. This was one I never thought was a problem but my optometrist told me it was a big no-no. He said he saw lots of bacterial infections when his patients showered while wearing contacts because shower water is not sterile. I started putting my contacts in AFTER my shower each morning instead of before and I was amazed at what an immediate difference there was. Swimming with contacts in is probably also frowned upon. I’m so blind that that isn’t really an option for me.
To learn more about healthy contact lens habits check out the American Optometric Association.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.