The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered that nearly 1 in 5 cases of contact lens infections resulted in eye damage, such a decline in vision, scarred cornea, or even the need for a corneal transplant.

You can avoid infections and potential eye damage by simply using your contact lenses properly.  Studies report that bad habits can lead to eye infections and permanent damage.

Here are some common mistakes you may be making with your contact lenses and what you should do to change these habits.

1. You sleep while wearing your contacts when not specifically approved by your doctor to do so

When your eyes are closed, air supply to your eyes is reduced. Certain enzymes and antibodies that protect the surface of your eyes need oxygen to fight off germs.  So be sure to remove your contacts whenever you go to sleep. Only a few brands of contact lenses have FDA approval for overnight wear, and even then the risk for potential complications remains higher.

2. You touch your contacts with dirty fingers

Always wash your hands before you handle your contacts. If your hands are dirty, you may transfer germs and bacteria to your eyes and risk infection.

3. You don’t rub your contacts when cleaning or storing them

Even if you use a “no-rub” contact lens solution, you should still rub your lenses to remove any dirt, germs, and protein buildup.  Remember to wash your hands before rubbing your contacts. If you use daily disposable lenses, this is not a concern.

4. You swim while wearing your contacts

The CDC strongly advises you to keep your contact lens away from water, including pool water.  The water may contain many microorganisms that become trapped in contacts and can cause infection. One rare infection that could lead to blindness is caused by Acanthamoeba, a microscopic amoeba.

5. You don’t change your solution daily

Would you do your laundry in dirty water? That’s how it is when you reuse contact lens solution.  You should always empty and rinse your contact lens case.  Fill your case with fresh solution every time you store your contacts, and don’t ever mix it with old solution. Consider daily disposable lenses if you are not using them now in order to eliminate the need for contact lens solution and overnight disinfection.

Avoid these mistakes when wearing your contact lenses to keep your eyes free from infection and injury.

At Primary Eyecare, our eye doctors diagnose and treat eye infections and other complications.  If you are experiencing any adverse symptoms or need an eye examination, please schedule an appointment here.  We are available for same day emergency appointments as well.