This post is a full transparent confession. I learned about contact care the hard way. I have been wearing contacts since I was in 6th grade, and for the first 10 years of wearing contacts, I took horrible care of my eyes which resulted in a lot of eye problems. I completely regret my contact habits, so I want to share my story with others in hopes that they will develop healthy contact habits. Today, more than one in ten people wear contacts in the U.S., that is nearly 41 million adults and 125 million people worldwide. With such a widespread audience, this message is very important. Here are 5 Healthy Contact Habits:
1. Annual Eye Exams
As a contact wearer, you should have a comprehensive eye exam annually. While contact lenses are among the safest, most popular forms of vision correction, it is important to visit with your optometrist regularly to ensure appropriate and up-to-date clinical guidance based on individual eye health needs.
2. Use As Directed
When you do not use lenses as directed by an eye doctor, the consequences can be dangerous and can even damage the eyes, potentially causing long-term problems with vision and eye health. According to the American Optometric Association’s 2015 American Eye-Q® Survey, more than half (59 percent) of Americans wear disposable contact lenses longer than the suggested duration. This bad habit can cause permanent eye damage from bacterial infections and oxygen deprivation. I admit, I was part of this 59 percent for the first 10 years of wearing contacts and it had horrible effects on my eyes. I would wear my contacts for 2- 3 months instead of the directed one month for particular brand of contacts. This caused severe dry eye and ulcers on my eyes. I can’t explain enough how awful it was, it hurt to open or close my eyes. I couldn’t even drive myself to the optometrist.
3. Properly Clean Your Lenses
Cleaning and rinse your lenses with proper solution. This is incredibly important, because it removes mucus, secretions, films and/or deposits that can build up during wearing that lead to bacterial growth if not removed properly. Studies show a lot of people (31 percent) just use rewetting drops or tap water (16 percent) to clean their lenses. You should also occasionally rub your lenses with cleaning solution using your fingers to clean off any film. You should store your contacts in fresh solution each night; never re-use old solution. I was extremely guilty of this as well. It is embarrassing to say, but I would re-use the same solution for the week.
4. Maintain Good Hygiene
You should always wash your hands before handling your contacts. Another good practice is removing your contacts as to not expose them to water, for instance in the shower. You should also replace your lens storage case every three months. I honestly just learned this tip. I would clean out my case with mild soap and water every now and then, but I rarely replaced my storage case.
Optometrists provide a lifetime of vision care and play a key role in a patient’s total quality of life. Proper vision can affect how well a person functions and succeeds in life. Yearly eye exams are important for eye and vision health. To learn more about healthy contact habits, visit the AOA site.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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