Contact Lenses: Are you one of the 99% not caring for them correctly?

10 Jan

Contact lens on a finger

At Spectrum Eyecare in Peachtree City, Dr. John Henahan is committed to great vision and the health of your eyes.  For younger patients, most eye health problems come from improper care of their contact lenses.

In a startling new study, Dr. Danielle Robertson and researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center found that the situation was far worse than previously thought.  In fact, only one percent of patients fully complied with the simple strategies that are required to safely wear contact lenses. As reported on NPR’s morning edition the following common mistakes lead to problems including eye irritation, redness and even sight threatening eye infections.

Common Contact Lens Care Mistakes:

#1) Reusing the same contact lens solution multiple times.  Lenses must be cleaned and disinfected each time they are removed.  Typically, this involves a simple process of soaking the lenses in a solution that cleans and disinfects the lens.  The solution must be completely changed every usage, otherwise it becomes contaminated and can cause eye problems.

#2) Keeping the contact lens case too long.  Even properly rinsed and cleaned cases gradually build a biofilm that will contaminate the contact lenses.  This contamination can cause eye irritation, poor comfort when wearing the lenses, eye redness and corneal ulcers.  A good strategy is to replace the case every time you buy a new bottle of solution.

#3) Not washing your hands before handling your lenses.  As we interact with the world, we come in contact with countless chemicals, viruses and bacteria, as well as other even nastier organisms. Nothing is more basic than washing your hands before sticking your fingers in your eye, but most people don’t do it.

#4) Sleeping in your contacts. Sleeping in your lenses increases the risk of all types of complications ten fold.  This is especially true of the most serious complications, such as the dreaded corneal ulcer.

#5) Keeping your lenses too long.  Failure to replace your contact lenses on the recommended schedule (typically every 2 – 4 weeks), results in a dirtier lens that is unable to transmit adequate oxygen to the eye.  Oxygen starvation to the eye is a big cause of eye infections and irritations.  It saves very little money too, especially compared with the cost of  doctor’s visits and prescription eye drops.  The drops alone can easily cost more than $150.

#6 Soaking lenses in… anything other than contact lens multipurpose solution.  In the no one can make this stuff up category, a UK study found that patients would soak their contacts in things like fruit juice, beer and even butter rather than multipurpose solution.  This is a sure way to end up with a major eye infection.

According to Dr. Henahan, the risk of poor contact lens hygiene is often great than the risk of LASIK eye surgery.  If you know that you are not going to care for your contacts properly, consider the daily disposable contacts or LASIK.  Proper use of daily disposables (single use, thrown away everyday), is the safest way to wear contact lenses.

If you have concerns about your eye health or would like an appointment with Dr. Henahan, please contact us here or call 770-487-0667.



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