5 Contact Lens Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Now

Stay Healthy and Safe by Avoiding Them Completely

A recent analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights some of the worst contact lens mistakes.  Chances are you’re making at least one.

Tap water can be dangerous for contact lenses

Tap water can be dangerous for contact lenses

A Shocking Habit

When I was a teenager, I had a friend who wore contact lenses.  Back then, they were a novelty to me.  I thought it was fun to watch her place them in her eyes.

One day, she complained they were uncomfortable.  Assuming they were dry, she did something I will never forget.

She popped them out of her eyes and into her mouth.  After “wetting” them for a few seconds, she placed them back into her eyes.

I was horrified.  That was nearly three decades ago.  Still, it may be the worst case of contact lens abuse I have ever seen.

What Are You Doing Wrong?

If you’re living the visual lifestyle, you’re not rinsing your contacts in your mouth.  But according to the CDC, it is likely that if you wear contact lenses, you’re doing something wrong.

A report released last week states more than 99% of contact lens wearers do something that increases their risk of a painful or sight-threatening eye infection.  That means pretty much everyone who wears contacts could do better.

It’s worth the effort.  Eye infections can mean frequent trips to the eye doctor, using eye drops every hour, and possibly missing work or school while the eye heals.

Here are the bad habits most commonly reported:

  • Routinely sleeping in contact lenses.  If you sleep in contacts, you’re 6 to 8 times more likely to get an eye infection.  If you wear contacts designed for overnight use, discuss alternatives with your eye doctor.  If your contacts aren’t meant for overnight use but you sleep in them anyway, you need to stop now.  Healthy eyes and clear vision are worth the effort.
  • Occasionally sleeping in contact lenses.  Even napping with contacts in your eyes once can cause painful and sight threatening problems.  If you’re sleepy, take the extra time to remove your contacts.  I have many patients at LaFollette Eye Clinic who wish they had done just that.
  • Overwearing contact lenses.  Whether the reason is money or memory, many people don’t throw away contact lenses when they should.  This is also a big risk.  Your safest bet is to switch to daily disposable contact lenses.  Single-use lenses were the safest in the report, causing fewer than 4% of the problems.
  • Wearing expired contact lenses.  Skipping expired lenses isn’t wasteful, it’s smart.  To be safe, see if your eye doctor will exchange expired lenses for new ones.  They may get credit from the contact lens company and pass the benefit on to you.
  • Storing contacts in tap water.  Water is bad for contact lenses.  If you don’t have proper solution you must find some or throw your lenses out.  Tap water contains germs that can be dangerous to your eyes.  This also means you shouldn’t wear your contacts while showering or bathing, in pools or hot tubs, or playing in the surf or the lake.

Millions of people wear contacts successfully every year.  To be safest, make sure you’re not doing the things on the list above.  When worn and cared for properly, contact lenses can be a great addition to your visual lifestyle.

Question: Have you ever suffered an eye infection from contact lenses?  What happened?  Please comment below.


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5 Things You Need for Healthy Contact Lens Wear

They'll Simply Make Your Lenses Better

If you wear contact lenses, there are a few things you shouldn’t live without.

Clean hands are essential whenever you handle your contact lenses

Clean hands are essential whenever you handle your contact lenses

Double Trouble

A few years ago a woman came to me with a painful eye infection.  She wore contacts, and she told me that she followed a strict wear and cleaning schedule.

When I examined her, she had a contact lens in the infected eye.  When I told her this, she insisted she had removed the lens as soon as she suspected an infection.

After further discussion, we discovered that many days prior to her visit, she had accidentally placed two contact lenses in the same eye.  She was removing, cleaning, and caring for one lens.  The other one stayed on the eye until it caused a such serious infection she needed help from a corneal specialist.

It took time and effort, but she healed well.  Still, I recommended she either stick with glasses or consider LASIK instead of using contacts.

What About You?

You’re probably not doubling up your contact lenses.  But if you wear them, there are five important things you need to make your contact lens wearing experience the best it can be.

Here’s the list:

  • Soap: If you wear contact lenses, germs are enemy number one.  Hand washing is essential every time you handle your lenses.  It’s the easiest step to forget or skip, but one of the most important.
  • The right cleaning solution: Go to your favorite retailer and look at the shelves full of contact lens solutions.  It won’t be long before you’re completely confused.  Some products are proven to be effective and some are not.  Some of them are not even cleaners at all, and some will even cause damage if they touch your eyes.  To make sure you get what you need, only use the solution prescribed by your eye doctor.  You  might find some at a lower cost, but is it worth a few dollars if you’re putting your eyes at risk?
  • Cases: Contact lens cases can be breeding grounds for germs.  Let them dry out when you’re wearing your lenses and change them often.  Recommendations vary, but I tell my patients to use a new case every two months.  My favorite product is Lens Alert, which has a contact lens alarm and enough cases to last all year.
  • Daily disposable contact lenses: If you want to skip the cleaners and cases altogether, then single-use contact lenses are your best option.  They’re the safest and healthiest way to wear contact lenses.  And, they’re more comfortable and most convenient.  See my last post to find out why.
  • A phone: I know.  You probably already have one.  But you may not realize it’s essential to your eye health.  You need to call your eye doctor for yearly contact lens exams.  But also make sure you don’t wait if problems arise.  Call your eye doctor immediately for an emergency visit, because no one should take a DIY approach to contact lenses or problems caused by them.

Millions of people wear contact lenses successfully every day.  But they are not risk free.  Improve your visual lifestyle and make sure you remember the tips above.

Question: If you wear contacts, what don’t you love about them?  Please comment below.


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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some links in the post above are “affiliate links.”  If you click on the link and buy the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.  But I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.  I am telling you this to comply with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

3 Reasons You Need to Switch to Daily Disposable Contact Lenses

They're Better Than Ever

Single-use contact lenses are the fastest growing lens type in the world today, with good reason.  If you haven’t tried them yet, now is the time.

More people are enjoying single-use contacts than ever before

More people are enjoying single-use contacts than ever before

A Second Chance

A few years ago a friend came to see me for an eye exam.  He wasn’t having problems.  He just wanted his eye health checked and a new glasses prescription.  I asked him if he had ever tried contact lenses.

“Oh, I did years ago,” he replied, “but I quit.  They were too uncomfortable.  I wish I could wear them, but I don’t think I can.”

That same week, a new daily disposable contact lens was available.  I explained the benefits of the new technology, and he agreed to try them.

The new lenses were clear and comfortable.  He was so happy he gave contacts another try.  He thought he couldn’t wear them, but now he enjoys contacts every day.

From Fringe to First Choice

When daily disposable contact lenses first hit the market over twenty years ago, I planned to use them as “problem solvers.”  That is, for patients who were unsuccessful wearing standard types of lenses.

Since then, the technology has advanced a lot.  Now, single-use contact lenses are my first choice for everyone.  That’s also true for all the optometrists at LaFollette Eye Clinic.  Today, over 60% of our contact lens patients wear daily disposable contact lenses, more than twice the national average.

Here are three reasons we prescribe daily disposable contact lenses:

  • Comfort.  Most patients agree their contact lenses are most comfortable the day they remove new lenses from the package.  For most people, every additional day in a standard lens means a little less comfort.  With daily disposable contact lenses, you get a brand new pair of contact lenses every single day.
  • Convenience.  Say goodbye to the rigors of contact lens care and cleaning.  Single-use contact lenses don’t need cases, cleaners, or rinses.  There is no need to rub or wash the lenses, because at the end of the day you simply throw them away.
  • Eye health.  This is an important point.  Proteins and other foreign matter sticks to contacts.  The longer you wear them, the more they’re coated.  Standard lenses require strong cleaners because germs grow and thrive in this film.  Even with the best cleaners, your lenses may harbor germs.  Single-use contact lenses mean you get a new, sterile lens every day.

Those three simple reasons are why daily disposable contact lenses are my first choice for all my patients.

Like many people, you may be concerned about cost.  But consider this: most lens companies offer good rebates when you order a supply.  Also, prices have come down as the technology has advanced.  Finally, you won’t have the expense of cleaners and cases, which can cost over $100 per year.

You may have tried contact lenses and quit.  You might already wear them.  Or you may never have tried them before.  If you’ve never worn daily disposable contact lenses, ask your eye doctor if they’re right for you.

Question: Have you ever tried contact lenses and it didn’t work out?  Tell me about it in the comments below.


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