If you’re lucky your contact lenses are usually so comfortable they are second nature, put them in and you’re ready to go. I’m always pleased when a patient is so comfortable with their lenses that they “don’t know they’re there”. But in the years of advancements of contact lens comfort, convenience and technology some contact lens wearers have perhaps grown too complacent about their care regimen.
A few years ago there was a rash of unusual contact lens related eye infections (caused by amoeba and fungal organisms), ultimately it was found that there were multiple causes of this outbreak, one of the common denominators was poor care compliance by the wearers who were not replacing their contact lens solution after each cycle of use. Since this became apparent I have made it a point to ask my contact lens patients about their care and lens replacement regimens as part of their annual contact lens evaluation. I’m happy to report that most patients do the right thing but still astounded by the lengths some folks will go to cut corners in a perceived effort to save time or money.
Here are some pointers and refreshers on “real world” situations and contact lens care:
- Always use soap and water to wash your hands and make sure your hands are dried with a lint-free towel before handling lenses.
- Try to avoid contact between your lenses and water (example: remove lenses before going swimming).
- Don’t rinse or store lenses in just water, whether tap or sterile.
- Never wet your lenses with your saliva.
- Saline solution and rewetting drops are not meant to disinfect your contact lenses.
- Discard your old lenses and start a new pair when you are supposed to (based on the schedule given for your particular type of lens).
- Properly clean and store your contact lenses.
- Rub your lenses with your fingers and then rinse them with solution, when cleaning your lenses (even if you have “no-rub” solution!).
- Rinse your contact lens case with solution, not water. Allow the case to air-dry.
- Replace your contact lens case every three months (at the very least!).