Friday, April 19, 2024



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Nakiah Edwards-Thomas

Did you know that water is not good for contact lenses? Or that you shouldn’t sleep in them, or that you should regularly clean your lens case?

There’s a lot people don’t think about these things regarding contact lenses, and Better Health acknowledges Contact Lens Health Week during August 17-21, by sharing some information on how to maintain healthy contact lenses, to ensure 20/20 vision. Wearing contact lenses incorrectly can increase chances of contracting an eye infection.

And so the 1st TIP would be: Wash your hands every time!

Always wash your hands with soap and water before handling your lenses, and dry them well with a clean lint free material before touching your contact lenses, every time.

Having washed hands in preparation for dealing with the lenses, people might be inclined to also wash the lenses. DON’T! Never rinse your contacts with tap water or stick them in your mouth. Tap water is not sterile and may contain organisms that can cause very severe infections. Contact lenses should be cleaned with a commercial contact

lens solution, following the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Clean and dry your case each day and fill it with new solution rather than “topping off” the solution from the previous day advises Ophthalmologist Dr. Jeffrey Goshe.

2nd TIP: Don’t use tap water to clean or store lenses.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises rubbing and rinsing with contact lens disinfecting solution—never water or saliva—to clean them each time they are removed, and use only the contact lens solution recommended by your eye care provider. The case can also be cleaned with the same solution – never water—and then emptied and dried with a clean tissue. Store upside down with the caps off after each use. Replace your contact lens case at least once every three months.

3rd TIP: Don’t sleep in your contact lenses!

“Despite what manufacturers say about lenses that are safe to sleep in, almost every study of contact lensrelated infections found a strong link between the risk of infection and sleeping in contacts,” Dr Goshe says.

Sleeping in lenses is one of the riskiest and one of the most commonly reported behaviours among adolescent and adult contact lens wearers, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reveals.

4th TIP: Don’t wear lenses past the time of their recommended use.

“Some people say they wear their lenses until they feel like they need to be changed – but that’s a sign that something bad has already started to happen,” Dr Goshe says. “That could be an abrasion to your cornea or bacteria building up on the inside. If your lenses are designed to be replaced every two weeks, you should replace them at least that often.”

5th TIP: Throw away or disinfect contact lenses that touch water.

Since contacts and water don’t mix, the CDC advises it is best to remove lenses before showering, swimming, or using a hot tub. For those who are actively involved in swimming or other water sports and concerned about being able to see well enough without wearing lenses, prescription goggles may be a good option—or possibly even a different form of vision correction.

If water touches contact lenses for any reason, take them out as soon as possible. Throw them away, or clean and disinfect them with their solution overnight before wearing them again. Last TIP: Get an annual eye exam.

People may not realise that the fit of their lenses can change throughout their lives, and an annual check-up can determine if adjustments should be made.

says Dr Goshe.

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