Remember how meticulous and disciplined you were when you got your first pair of contact lenses? Making sure you washed your hands before putting them in and taking them out; always using the proper solutions and never daring to take a shortcut. Everything was sterile, and by the book.
However, as time went by—and like countless contact lens wearers—the cleaning regimen gradually regressed from meticulous to hit & miss.
Not to worry!
Vision and eye care experts Andrea Thau, O.D., of SUNY College of Optometry and ophthalmologist Rebecca Taylor, M.D., of Nashville, TN have catalogued the most common misconceptions and “bad habits” of contact lens wearers in a recent Huffington Post article.
Accept No Substitutes!
Never use tap water to clean or store your contact lenses. While it may be safe to drink, the water from the faucet contains bacteria that can cause eye infections. This is also why showering and swimming while wearing your lenses is not a good idea. Similarly, never ever, put your lenses in your mouth or use saliva to clean them. This is just asking for trouble. Instead, always carry saline solution with you, or, simply throw your contacts away and wear your glasses until you get home.
Although the generic store brands are tempting due to the lower prices, don’t trust them. You have no way of knowing what you are getting. A better idea is to consult your ophthalmologist as to the best solution for your eyes—and stick with it. Also, be sure to check the expiration dates before you buy.
Time for a Change
Another myth that is widespread throughout the contact lens-wearing population is that it is okay to recycle saline solution. Au contraire! Reusing solution is akin to taking a bath in the same bathwater time after time. Instead, use it once to soak your lenses and pour it down the drain. Another option is to get a prescription for disposable daily-wear lenses.
Along those same lines, when was the last time you replaced your contact lens case? If it’s been longer than three months, it is time to purchase a new one. Moreover, when you wash your lens case, use saline solution rather than water, and let the case air dry or dry it completely with a lint-free cloth. Never put the lids back on while the case is still wet.
To discover more of what you may have forgotten about caring for your contact lenses, read the Huffington Post article that addresses this topic.