Contact lenses are not cheap, not robust, not easy to find if dropped, and compared with your eyes they’re nothing. Your eyes are more precious than anything you possess in your house or bank. Without them, you’re in the dark! However, contact lenses serve an important purpose, so here are six top tips to help you maintain your them so that you don’t even notice they’re there – that means they’re doing their job, by the way.
- Timing is everything
Keep track of time; soft contact lenses have a certain shelf-life, be it a day, a fortnight or a month; once you’ve come to the end of that time bin them and open a new pack. If you don’t then you’re risking some nasty symptoms, such as corneal ulcers, hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the cornea), and chronic inflammation which might mean you’ll never be able to wear contacts again. If in doubt, better to bin them before risking it getting to that stage.
- Hand washing is everything
We’ve probably never been better at this than in these times of pandemic and national crisis. However, if you’ve been wearing contacts for a large part of your life it’s tempting to become a bit lax in this regard. Don’t be. The dirt and germs you could be inviting into your eyes can cause terrible damage. Allow me to scare you with some ominous-sounding bacteria – Methylobacterium, Lactobacillus, Acinetobacter, and Pseudomonas. The final one has a connection to corneal ulcers!
- Lens washing is everything
Putting your lenses in fresh solution is good, but you also need to actively cleaning them with that solution. Otherwise it’s a bit like toothpaste; without the brushing motion of the toothbrush, what’s the point. You should put one contact lens on the palm of your nicely cleansed hand and then apply the cleaning solution, taking great care to free it from any possible hint of dirt or debris. Rinse with water alone, then put safely in its case. Repeat again for the second lens.
- Removals are everything
Apart from some specialist lenses, the general rule is that you should never sleep with the contact lenses (buy online) on. Your cornea requires oxygen and your eyelids are doing another blocking of that, ordinarily. Contact lenses will only end up further reducing the amount of oxygen getting in. An oxygen-starved eye is more prone to germs and in particular keratitis (inflammation of the cornea).
- Reacting is everything
Unlike a bad stomach after a heavy meal, any form of eye discomfort should not simply be put up with. After removing the contacts your optician is next the person to see, and quickly. Their expert advice might mean you’ll end up wearing a different, more suitable pair of contacts rather than not wearing them at all.
- Keeping dry is everything
Never wear contact lenses whilst having a shower, certainly never whilst swimming. If you do the latter, you are actually risking the introduction of harmful bacteria in the water getting into your contacts, with horrible consequences. You can actually purchase prescription goggles, so that you don’t have to miss out on all that good exercise or family fun. That reminds me; never wear your contacts whilst paddling in the sea!