Contact Lens Care Mistakes

wearing contacts

Wearing contacts isn’t always as easy as you’d hope. Often, you can’t just open the lens container and stick your contacts into your eyes. While prescription contact lenses have improved vision for many Americans, there are several mistakes to avoid for proper eye care.

Over 30 million Americans wear contact lenses, reports the American Optometric Association. People wear contacts for a variety of reasons, such as not wanting glasses to get in the way or cover their face, not having to constantly clean their glasses, and the desire to wear non-prescription sunglasses.

Risk of infection is one of the biggest problems contact lens wearers face, but following proper care and hygiene guidelines will keep these concerns under control. The American Academy of Ophthalmology identifies common mistakes soft contact lens wearers make that can cause an eye infection. Here are three from the list:

  1. In an emergency, use saliva or water to wet your contacts. Wind and environmental factors can easily dry out your eyes, making it uncomfortable to wear contacts, but using saliva or water to rinse contacts is not a good solution. Saliva contains oral bacteria, which is not healthy for your eyes, and putting water on contacts can make them swell and change their fit. If you don’t have contact lens solution or rewetting drops with you, eye doctors recommend throwing away the contact vs. placing your eye at risk for an infection.
  2. It’s OK to reuse contact lens solution. Soaking lenses in contact solution helps to remove bacteria and debris that accumulates on your eye throughout the day. Eye doctors report that when reusing contact solution, you’re putting bacteria back into your eye, which can lead to an infection.
  3. Use soap and water to clean your storage case. Eye doctors recommend cleaning your storage case with contact lens solution, not soap and water. Always wipe the case with a clean, lint-free towel and let it air dry before resealing and storing. Also, replace the case every three to six months to prevent the accumulation of bacteria.