Whether you are looking to switch from glasses to contacts for the first time or you’ve been wearing them for years, it’s always good to brush up on contact lens safety. Contact lenses offer several benefits over glasses, but they do require some extra care when it comes to handling them.
What are the Benefits of Contact Lenses?
Although contact lenses require a little more care than glasses, they offer several benefits. For instance, switching from glasses to contacts allows you to participate more easily in activities that you might not be able to do with glasses, such as playing contact sports. Other benefits of using contact lenses include:
- A more natural appearance
- Better peripheral vision
- No frame obstruction
- More durability over glasses
If you frequently engage in activities where your glasses could easily get damaged or lost, contact lenses might be the right choice for you. To determine if you are a candidate for contact lenses, talk to your optometrist or ophthalmologist during your next eye exam.
Tips for Safely Using Contact Lenses
Before deciding to use contact lenses, you should have a conversation with your eye doctor about which type of contact lenses would be best for you and your lifestyle. There are many types of contacts to choose from, including daily disposable, reusable, toric, multifocal, and rigid gas-permeable (RGP). Depending on your needs, one might be better than the other. If you decide that contact lenses are right for you, there are some general contact lens safety tips that you should follow:
1. Carefully Follow Your Prescription and Exam Schedule
It is crucial to only use contact lenses prescribed by a licensed eye care professional. Never try to change the prescription or power of your contact lenses on your own. Doing so may result in severe eye problems. In addition to following your contact lens prescription, you should also schedule regular eye exams with your optometrist or ophthalmologist to ensure your contact lenses are still the best option for you.
2. Keep Your Contacts Clean
You should clean your contact lenses daily with a contact lens solution designed especially for your lenses. Never use water to clean your contact lenses, as it may lead to eye infections. In addition to cleaning your contact lenses, you should also clean your contact lens case regularly. Be sure to replace your contact lens case every three months.
3. Don’t Sleep In Any Contacts
It might be tempting to sleep with your contact lenses in, but it’s not worth the risk. Sleeping with contact lenses increases your risk of developing an eye infection. Sometimes despite your best efforts, you might fall asleep with your contact lenses in. If this happens, remove them as soon as you wake up. You may need to use eye drops to make them more comfortable to remove. It is also a good idea to take a break from your contact lenses and wear glasses for a day or two. Contact your optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately if you notice signs of an eye infection, such as redness, pain, or discharge.
4. Replace Contacts as Recommended
Depending on the type of contact lenses you use, you might need to replace them every day, every two weeks, or every month. Overwearing contact lenses prevents oxygen from reaching your eyes which could lead to serious eye problems. For example, the corneal epithelium is a layer of cells on the front surface of your eye and is responsible for protecting your cornea from infection. When contact lenses prevent oxygen from reaching the corneal epithelium, it may deteriorate and become damaged, making you more susceptible to infections. Therefore, it is essential to replace your contact lenses as recommended by your optometrist or ophthalmologist.
5. Avoid Using Decorative Contact Lenses
While contact lenses that change the color of your eyes might seem like a fun way to change your look, it is best to only use FDA-approved contact lenses prescribed by a licensed professional. Wearing decorative contact lenses without consulting a professional may cause permanent eye damage. If you want to change the appearance of your eyes, avoid over-the-counter contact lenses and talk to your optometrist or ophthalmologist about prescription decorative lenses.
6. Have a Pair of Backup Glasses
While contact lenses are a convenient way to improve your vision, it is always a good idea to have a backup pair of glasses. This way, if you experience any problems with your contact lenses or have to stop using them due to an eye infection, you can quickly shift to glasses and maintain the same level of vision.
Improve Your Vision with Cascade Eye & Skin Centers
Contact lenses are a great way to improve your vision and give you the freedom to live your life without relying on glasses. However, it is essential to follow the tips above to ensure that you are using and handling your contact lenses safely. If you have any questions or concerns about contact lenses, schedule an appointment with Cascade Eye & Skin Centers. Our team of experts will be happy to help you ensure that you are using your contact lenses safely and effectively.