Tips for Taking Care of Your Eyes as a Contact Lens Wearer

I like many others, wear contacts pretty much everyday. Though I realize that eye health is extremely important, I am human and will sometimes neglect to take proper care of my contacts. Though I know these tips are fairly common sense, it does not hurt to be reminded of them, especially with exam season coming up sometimes remembering your student number can be hard. Just remember that contacts are considered a medical device and using them improperly can be detrimental to your eyes. So from one contact wearer to another, please take care of your contacts!

1. Do not let water reach your contacts

Exposing your contacts to water whether it is using water as a substitute for contact lens solution or wearing your contacts when you take a shower, go for a swim or come into contact with other bodies of water, could lead to eye irritation or infection. Contacts act as a sponge and they can absorb bacteria and parasites from the water which will subsequently get into your eyes. It is not hard to use contact solution, or to take out your contacts before jumping into water, so do your eyes (and self really) a favour and do not let your contacts reach water.  

2. Wash your hands before you put in or take out your contacts

Though this may not seem hard to do, it sometimes may seem annoying to have to pause before putting in or taking out your contacts to thoroughly wash and dry off your hands - but it is so important. Remember how contacts can act as sponges? So imagine ALL the germs that have made it onto your hands by the end of the day, and they make it onto your contacts and subsequently on your eyes. Take the extra minute or two to wash your hands and dry your hands thoroughly since wet hands can transmit germs easier than dry ones do.

3. Do not fall asleep without taking out your contacts

Not only is waking up after having your contacts in your eyes overnight extremely uncomfortable, it also puts you at a higher risk of eye infections (are you seeing a pattern?). When you sleep in your contacts you are depriving your eyes from a necessary amount of oxygen which can lead to eye infections. Also if you were not properly cleaning your contacts, whatever gross bacteria is on there will definitely make it onto your eyes by the morning. Not only that but you can also develop dry eyes. A condition that occurs when you do not have enough tears to lubricate your eyes, causing redness, stinging, itchiness, burning and a feeling that something is in your eyes amongst other symptoms. The chances of you getting developing these kinds of conditions increase when you sleep in your contacts. However if you stayed up late studying and forgot to take them out before falling asleep just take them out when you wake up, properly clean them and let your eyes take a day off and wear glasses for the day. 

4. Do not wear your contacts longer than you should

I know that contacts can be expensive, so a lot of us wear them longer than we should to make sure we get the most for our money. But there is a reason they should be switched out at the recommended date, it's because using them for too long (yup you guessed it) can lead to irritation and infection. Especially because overtime microorganisms, allergens and proteins can build up on them. Sure cleaning your lenses can help but ultimately you should only wear your contacts for the recommended time. 

5. Be careful with makeup

Make sure to toss out eye makeup like mascara or eye liner when they expire. Especially mascara! Toss out your mascara after 3 months to prevent eye infections. This rule applies to non contact wearers as well, but since mascara is applied after contacts have been worn, the contacts can easily get infected. 

6. Give your eyes a break

If you work in front of a screen for the majority of the day while wearing contacts, give your eyes a break and switch to glasses from time to time. Being in front of a computer already dries and irritates your eyes, so if you're wearing contacts, these symptoms become even worse. If your eyes are constantly blocked from oxygen due to prolonged contact use this can cause itchiness and other symptoms, so give your eyes a breather and don't forget to wear glasses sometimes.