Although contact lenses are a regular part of the lives of about 24 million Americans, most contact wearers continue to make mistakes when caring for their eyes and contact lenses. A contact lens is a very delicate item. Most people forget that they are an actual medical device that requires precise care to keep their eyes healthy and their vision sharp. While some eye conditions are inevitable with aging, such cataracts or hyperopia (farsightedness), many eye infections and conditions such as dry eye syndrome, which is the most common eye complaint among contact wearers, can be prevented by keeping these tips in mind when caring for your contacts daily.

It’s 10:30 pm, and the day has left you exhausted, and ready for bed. Some nights, it takes all the energy you have left to simply brush your teeth and pinch the contacts our of your eyes and plop them into their contact case. Familiar? It’s easy to get a little lazy when it comes to your everyday contact lens routine, but you’re asking for trouble if you do. The first thing to remember when preventing further eye complications is to properly care for your contacts on a daily basis. It should be a habit. Cleaning and disinfecting your contacts properly helps to prevent irritation and infections that could lead to more complex problems with your sight. Wash your hands before removing your contacts and before inserting them in the morning.

Also, store your contact lenses according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t allow your contacts to sit unprotected while you’re not wearing them, because it will encourage bacterial growth that can ultimately harm your eyes. All types of contact lenses must be disinfected and cleaned on a regular routine, except for daily disposable lenses. It’s also important to clean the actual case itself according to the directions by the manufacturer. Every element of the contact lens wearing process must include good hygiene to help you avoid problems.

Buying contact lenses from anywhere other than an authorized contact lens dealer is also a mistake. Sometimes, in an effort to save a few dollars or avoid waiting, people will grab contacts from places where the seller doesn’t even ask for your prescription. Your eyes are obviously among the most delicate parts of your body, and serious or even permanent injury isn’t very difficult to sustain if you wear suspect contact lenses.

If you wear make-up, it’s a good idea to insert your contacts before you put on the make-up and remove the contacts before you take the make-up off. But not following this protocol, you run the risk of little make-up particles getting behind the contacts and irritating and infecting the eyes.

Another mistake contact wearers make is to neglect annual eye exams. Your eye health can change even throughout the course of one year, and if you wait too long you could be damaging your eyes by wearing contacts with the wrong prescription.

Also, avoid wearing your contacts longer than you’re supposed to if they’re designed as disposable. Trying to wear them as long as possible in order to save a buck could cost you the health of your eyes. What about when you’re sick? The best thing to do is wear your glasses. Inserting contacts and removing your contacts while you have a virus or other illness can cause infections.

Avoid these common contact lens mistakes, and you’ll enjoy the comfort and convenience of contacts without wasting your investment or hurting your eyes. If you wear contacts and have noticed a change or cloudiness in your vision, have extremely dry eyes, or other irritation, the best thing you can do is have your eyes checked. Dr. Patel and Dr. Hebson can assess your eyes’ needs and make recommendations for further treatment.

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