Do you always sleep or dive in a pool without removing your contact lenses?
According to Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are millions of contact lens-related eye infections reported each year in the U.S. These eye-infections can cause irritation, redness and reduced vision.
Here are the tips you should consider for you to be able to prevent common eye infections caused by wearing contacts.
Water is a No-No
Don’t swim or shower in your lenses. When exposed to water, your lenses can be exposed to bacteria, microbes, pathogens or pollutants that can produce serious infections to the eyes which can lead to visual impairment or even blindness.
Avoid Too Much Sunlight
Though many brands of contact lenses claim that they have UVA/UVB protection, you still need to protect your eyes against the sun the way you protect your skin. Contact lens wearer can actually get an eye infection due to excessive UV exposure. It’s best if you wear light-blocking sunglasses if you are going outside.
Don’t Sleep In Contact Lenses
According to Reecha Kampani, OD, a Cleveland Clinic optometrist
“One of the biggest problems with over-wearing or sleeping in the lenses is you’re getting less oxygen to the eye. This can lead to infection, inflammation and abrasions to the eye because the added oxidative stress makes the eye more vulnerable to various bacteria and pathogens.”
Always Keep Your Contact Lens Case Clean
One of the important steps you need to do to reduce the risk of eye infection is by properly storing your contact lens in a clean case. A fluid-filled dark environment is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
Avoid Touching Or Rubbing Your Eyes When Wearing Contact Lenses
Avoid touching your eyes. Studies have found that bacteria residing on the eyeballs of contact lens wearers were similar to the bacteria found on the skin.
Not Taking Care Of Eye Hygiene Could Lead To Keratitis
Also known as corneal ulcer, keratitis is a condition wherein the cornea – the dome of the eye where the contact lens rests – becomes swollen or inflamed thereby making the eye red and painful. This is the most common contact lens-related infection. If not treated, it can result in blindness or a need for a corneal transplant to treat the infected eye. Keratitis may be caused by a simple fingernail scratch or from wearing your contact lenses too long.
Familiarize Yourself With The Symptoms Of An Eye Infection
Some of the signs of an eye infection related to contact lens usage include sensitivity to light, discomfort, itching, burning, excessive tearing or mucus, blurred vision, swelling, redness, pain, and a “gritty” feeling. You can avoid all of these by properly storing your contact lens.
Amoeba Can Live In The Eye
Your eye can be infected by the scariest amoeba known as acanthamoeba which thrives in rivers, tap water, freshwater lakes, and soil. Infections from acanthamoeba can lead to permanent blindness. Therefore, it would be better if see your doctor after your eye starts to feel “funky” after swimming.
Don’t Attempt To Make Your Own Contact Lens Solution
Don’t ever use a DIY contact solution. You might end up mixing germs into your solution. Also, avoid storing your lenses in water. It should only be soaked in saline that has a very particular balance that mimics your natural tears