What's one thing to never do while putting in contacts? Not make sure they're cleaned properly! Whether you have one-a-days, over nights, fortnights like I do, or color contacts for fun, forgetting to take care of your contacts and can come with catastrophic consequences. Even just leaving them in for too long can at the very least put a strain on your eyes.
NPR reports that, "eye infections caused by contact lenses are relatively rare; the risk ranges from 1 in 7,500 for hard-lens wearers to 1 in 500 for people who sleep in daily wear lenses." Additionally, according to Time, a study from the NYU Langone Medical Center "found people who wear contacts have different types of bacteria in their eyes than non-users—including one kind often connected with eye ulcers." Coolio!
There are little idiosyncrasies that contact wearers may not think about while putting in and taking out their contacts. Washing hands and cleaning out contact holders are two of the most important factors to pay attention to. Even the smallest mistakes can make a negative impact on your eye health! For example, once upon a time, I was out of contact solution and tried to use my brother's solution. Little did I know, it was an extremely different and alcoholic solution that felt like my eyes were being burned out of my skull. So, not so great.
In looking at a list of common contact mistakes, I found myself feeling guiltier and guiltier. Here are a few times I should definitely have cleaned those contacts, but didn't.
1. When I Showered & Swam In My Contacts
You still need to see for the rest of the day, so you assume that leaving your contacts in is alright? I was in for a rude awakening with this one. The Huffington Post reports that because "tap water isn't salty like tears," the contact lenses will absorb the water they come in contact with and tighten to your eye. This is an issue because tap water isn't sterile. In turn, this increases the risk of infection.
2. When I Used The Same Lens Case Forever
Look at how gross my case is! And my shelf! It's time for a switcheroo and a strenuous scrub. Contact lens cases have a shelf life (get it?) of three months tops, according to 1800 Contacts.
3. When I Left Same Solution In My Lens Case
Using the same solution in your lens case is one of the fastest routes to infection, according to The Huffington Post. I once had to stop wearing contacts for three weeks because of an infection due to this lazy error.
4. When I Didn't Let My Case Dry Fully
Water that is still in the case still puts you at risk for infection, even with the disinfectant solution inside of it, according to Cosmo.
5. When I Accidentally Put On Makeup Before My Contacts
Makeup is more likely to get on your contacts this way. On top of that, according to Huffington Post, waterproof makeup will bind to the lenses, so avoid that when wearing contacts if you can.
6. When I Accidentally Fell Asleep In My Contacts
I've accidentally fallen asleep in my contacts over night and have woken up to a. terror and b. completely stuck lenses. Thankfully, re-wetting drops exist to save me, but after taking them out my eyes were extremely sensitive to light.
7. I've Used A Pair Way Too Much
There's a reason why glasses exist. They help rest your eyes, whilst contacts strain them. According to Time, the best way to avoid infection is wearing your glasses, and you should restrict your time wearing contacts to 12-14 hours a day.
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