Regular exams by your eye doctor are essential for your vision and underlying eye health. Even with these periodic evaluations, you may require glasses or contacts to correct vision issues. Caring for your eyeglasses is a simple process, but cleaning and handling your contact lenses can be a bit more difficult. If you are part of the 30 million Americans who wear contact lenses, understanding the proper way to clean and handle these important elements in your vision is key to reducing your risk of eye infections from harmful bacteria. Using these tips, you can handle and clean your contact lenses in a safe and effective manner.
The 411 on Handling Contact Lenses
You should wash and dry your hands before handling the lenses. Use antibacterial soap and warm water to wash, and dry your hands with a clean cloth or paper towels.
Since your fingernails can trap dirt, dust, and bacteria underneath, consider keeping your nails short at least until you become more comfortable handling your contact lenses.
In the past, removing your contact lenses each night was necessary. However, the introduction of "extended wear" contacts allows you to wear your lenses for longer periods of time. Of course, the Food and Drug administration only approves a maximum period of 30 days to wear certain brands of extended wear contacts.
Wearing these lenses for longer times will irritate your eyes and increase your risk of an infection while reducing your vision quality. Be sure to ask your eye doctor about your contact's specific recommendation for wearing time.
The 411 on Cleaning and Storing Contacts
A trip to your local discount retailer or drug store will offer you a wide selection of cleaning solutions for your contacts, but you can create one at home with a few simple ingredients.
In a glass, combine the following:
- ½ cup of distilled water
- ½ teaspoon of table salt
Mix with a spoon and pour a small amount into the compartments of your len's storage container. With clean and dry hands, place the lens in its compartment and cover. Soak your contacts in the container overnight.
Using hydrogen peroxide is also a great option for cleaning and sanitizing your contact lenses. Add a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to the compartment of your storage container and place the lens inside. Be sure to cover and allow to soak overnight.
In the morning, rinse the hydrogen peroxide off the contacts using your saline solution before placing them back into your eyes.
Placing emphasis on the cleanliness of your lens storage container is also necessary. Make sure to never soak your contacts in an old cleaning solution, so be sure to rinse the compartments out with clean saline solution before placing your contacts back inside.
Your storage case may appear clean, but microscopic bacteria are impossible to see. If this bacteria remains inside the lens' compartments, it can affect the contacts and irritate your eyes and vision quality. To prevent the spread of bacteria, replace your storage case every 3 months. If using a premade cleaning solution for your contact lens, you may need to replace the storage case every 1 to 3 months.
Remove old cleaning solution from the storage case each time you remove your contacts. Pour in new solution to rinse away hidden bacteria and residue from inside the compartments. Use a clean paper towel to dry out the compartments, as well. Make sure to add new cleaning solution to the lens' compartments before storing your contacts back in the case.
Contacts are a great option for correcting your vision without the worry of wearing eyeglasses on your face. With proper handling and cleaning, your contacts will be effective and safe options for correcting your vision.
For more information and tips, contact a local ophthalmology doctor or clinic.