Contact lenses are thin plastic devices placed on the eyes to correct vision problems or for cosmetic reasons. They are perfect for people who do not want the annoyances of wearing glasses or undergoing corrective surgery. An estimated 45 million people in the US wear contacts, creating an industry worth over $3 billion.
There is still a lot of misinformation about contact lenses, and many people opt against using them for this reason. If you are considering switching from glasses to contacts or want to give yourself a new aesthetic look, here are some things you should know about wearing contacts lenses:
Contacts Are Safe to Use
Contact lenses are not devoid of risks, but they are generally safe to use. You require a certain degree of personal hygiene and care to use contacts safely. Failure to keep to contact lens guidelines can put you at risk of eye infections. Keratitis, an infection of the cornea, is a severe infection resulting from unhygienic contact use. Many contact wearers use their contacts longer than recommended and clean them with water or other unsafe liquids, increasing their risk of infections.
To safely use contact lenses, wearers should wash and dry their hands before inserting or removing their contacts. You should clean your contacts with only recommended solutions and get in touch with your doctor if your eyes feel uncomfortable. Wearing contact lenses is safe if users adhere to these simple guidelines.
Contact Lenses Are Not for Sleeping
If you wear contacts for a significant period, chances are you will fall asleep in them at one point. Studies show that a third of contact wearers fall asleep with their contacts in and experience no more than a bit of eye dryness that they can resolve with some eye drops. Some manufacturers even approve their contact lenses for sleep. However, sleeping in your contacts increases your chances of getting an infection.
When you keep wearing your contacts at night while you sleep, you are helping bacteria proliferate in your eyes while also depriving your eyes of oxygen, adding more risks to your eye health. The longer you sleep in your contacts, the more dangerous it gets for your eyes. Even a short nap may be risky and cause problems. (Source: WebEyeCare)
Blinking while awake hydrates the eyes and allows oxygen to flow through. Contacts cover the eyes and reduce the ability of the eyes to breathe. When you are asleep, even less oxygen gets to your eyes and weakens the cornea’s ability to stave off bacteria. When you sleep in your contacts, you risk microbial infections that cause severe eye problems, including vision loss.
If you inadvertently fall asleep while wearing contacts, remove them gently as soon as you wake up and blink frequently to moisten your eyes. If you find your contacts stuck to your cornea, a common occurrence in sleeping with contacts, do not try to force them out. Lubricate your eyes with a sterile contact solution and blink until you can easily remove your contacts. Contact your doctor if you experience any symptoms of discomfort like pain, redness, or blurry vision.
Do Not Clean Your Contact Lenses With Water
You may run out of contacts lens cleaning solution or forget to carry it on a trip. If this happens, you can be tempted to clean your contacts with water. However, your eyes are very sensitive, and even though tap or distilled water may be safe to drink, they still contain microbes that can harm your eyes. If these organisms get into your eyes, they can multiply and put your vision at risk.
Acanthamoeba keratitis is a common parasite in tap water that can infect your cornea, causing pain, redness, sensitivity to light (photophobia), tearing, and even loss of vision. Cleaning your lenses with water can also affect their shape, making it uncomfortable to wear them and even causing them to stick to your eyes. It would be best to only clean or store your contact lenses in the approved solution.
Daily Contacts Are Better for Your Eyes
Contact wearers have several options to choose from, and lifestyle factors often influence a person’s choice of contact lenses. Daily and monthly contact lenses are the two most commonly available options. Daily contact lenses are worn and replaced every day, while you can wear monthly contacts for up to a month before getting a new one. There are also bi-weekly contacts to be used and disposed of after two weeks. Advocates of monthly contacts point to their cost-effectiveness and the environmental waste from using daily contacts.
However, the advantages of wearing daily contacts outweigh the cons, making them better for your eyes. Daily contact lenses are convenient, and you don’t have to clean or store them. There is also little chance of the build-up of harmful deposits since you use them only once. Most people choose their preferred contact lenses based on lifestyle and convenience. But if your eye health is the priority, you should opt for daily contact lenses.
Buy Contacts From a Trusted Source
Contact lenses are medical devices regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. So, it would be best if you bought them with the same level of care and discretion as you would a prescription drug. You can order your lenses online or buy them from brick-and-mortar stores. Many people opt to shop online for lenses because of ease, affordability, quick delivery, and a wide range of contact lens options.
Some doctors caution their patients against patronizing online retailers due to the risk of getting incorrect prescriptions or counterfeit contacts. Before patronizing a retailer, you should check out their website security, return policy, and user reviews. A reliable contact lens dealer should have a track record of delivering prescription orders. Avoid dealers with multiple customer complaints about quality and service delivery.
Buying and using contacts right can do wonders for your vision and daily life. Contact users must therefore equip themselves with essential information that will help them use these medical devices correctly.