Contact lenses are a godsend for those of us with less-than-perfect eyesight. Pop them on, and we immediately have 20/20 vision like the rest of the world. We all know how to wear a contact lens, but as they are a device worn on one of the most sensitive organs on our body, a single mistake is one too many. We run through some mistakes that people often overlook, and we hope you are not on the list!
Mistake #1: Your lenses do not fit your prescription
"There's now way I am in this category." Are you sure? Ask most people their prescription, and they will tell you their power/grade/degree with no problem.
But did you know that your prescription also contains your base curve and diameter? This determines the size and shape of your lens, and how well it fits your eye. Wearing the wrong lenses can cause problems as mild as dry eyes, eye redness or lenses that don't sit well, to worse ones like cornea infection or even blindness.
Only wear what your optician recommends, not what your colleague or that dodgy salesman from Contacts Asia says you should. Always be wary of any discomfort or symptoms when wearing lenses, and talk to your optician whenever you are not sure.
Mistake #2: You change out your lenses when they start feeling dry.
Most of us forget when we are due for a lens change. Or sometimes we push it a little because we are busy or just want to save some money. The cue to change comes when the lenses start feeling dry or uncomfortable. But guess what? It is too late then. Whether they just are not retaining water well, or starting to develop scratches, they are already doing damage to your eye. Change them on time before they feel uncomfortable, not after.
Mistake #3: Taking out and putting back daily lenses is fine, as long as you follow proper cleaning procedures
This may come as a surprise for some, but this is not ok. Daily lenses are designed to be thinner and more fragile. This means they are not designed to be handled and cleaned. Doing so will damage the surface of the lens slightly, and wearing it again will cause the damage surface to in turn damage your eye. If you need to take out your lenses multiple times during the day, you may consider switching to monthly lenses, which are designed to be handled.
Mistake #4: You break some rules, but your eyes feel fine, so it's fine.
Maybe you skip a cleaning sometimes. Fall asleep in your lenses. Change your lenses late. Take your lens out without cleaning because you are in a hurry. But your eyes feel perfectly fine, so it's ok...right? Many times, breaking these rules do not result in discomfort, but what you are doing is putting your self at risk of infections or damage to the cornea. We have seen cases of corneas being ripped out because they were stuck to lenses, and teens going blind because of infection. You might not feel anything now, but all you need is for things to go wrong once. ONCE.
Mistake #5: You think tap water is clean.
Well, it is. But not for your eyes. Tap water contains an amoebae that can cause Acanthamoeba keratitis, which can lead to permanent blindness. We do not wish to scare you, but this infection affects 1.2 to 3 million people a year. Soft contact lenses are like sponges and soak up these pathogens, keeping them locked between the lens and your cornea. This increases the chance of infection greatly, which is why we emphasize again and again, no tap water.
Mistake #6: You dropped your lenses. 5-second rule!
If you had read the above, you already know that's a bad idea. What many people feel is that it is ok if it lands on the clean sink, or anywhere else you think is clean. The fact is, it is not. Like we mentioned, tap water and contact lenses do not mix. So is anything cleaned using tap water. So give the lens a quick rinse with solution again before putting them on.
Mistake #7: You forget about the lens case
So you take really good care of your lenses, but what about your lens case? It is often overlooked as it is just a plastic box, but it is also one of the most common sources of infection. Bacteria can easily collect and grow around and in the case due to how wet is usually is. Washing it with tap water just makes things worse. We recommend changing them every 3 months, and the same drill applies: no tap water. Flush them out with solution instead.
All these tips may make contact lens wearing seem scary, but it really isn't. All you need is to follow instructions blindly. Some may seem like we are being overly-cautious, but all of them have a reason behind them.
And that is also why we usually recommend daily lenses. Because daily lenses always come from a fresh pack, and are thrown away at the end of the day, chances of things going wrong is reduced significantly. Read more about the differences between daily and fortnightly/monthly lenses here.
Till the next post, stay safe and enjoy your perfect vision!