How NOT to Wear Contacts: 5 Common Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make
It is estimated that 45 milion Americans wear contacts lenses. If you've clicked on this, odds are good that you either wear contacts or know someone who does; or maybe you just like to learn fun facts!
Here are 5 ways to NOT wear your contact lenses. These not only shorten the life of your contacts but can also be bad for your eye health. Save money and keep your eye health in tip-top shape by avoiding these common contact lens mistakes.
1. Wear contacts while you’re sleeping or when your eyes are irritatedYou should not fall asleep when wearing contacts, even if it’s just a nap! Contact lenses limit the amount of oxygen that reaches the cornea and that can cause problems when you keep your eyes closed for long periods of time. There are 30-day lenses made from thinner material allowing wear for extended periods of time, but always check with your eye doctor before you sleep in them!
If your eyes are irritated, take out your contacts. Rubbing your eyes, staring at a screen without blinking (yes, it happens), or wearing contact lenses when you’re sick are all ways to shorten how long your contacts will last.
2. Put contacts in with dirty hands or without cleaning themYou often touch things that are not disinfected: door handles, pets, your hair, etc. This means that washing your hands before putting your contacts in or taking them out is vital! You wouldn’t want to put all the bacteria from your daily life in your eyeball.
It’s also important to clean your contact lenses before putting them in. This step is relevant to people wearing weeklies, bi-weeklies, or monthly contacts. Rub your contacts lens between your *clean* index finger and thumb to ensure that there is no build up from the previous day’s wear.
3. Swim/shower in contacts or use water as solutionThe pH level of contact lens solution ranges from 6.5-7.6. The pH of tap water is typically 7.5. However, this similarity in pH does not mean that water can replace contact solution. Even “clean” water contains bacteria and microorganisms harmful to your eyes, while contact solution is sterile.
Contact lenses will absorb water and swell, causing discomfort. Water does not contain the saltiness that contact solution does. Ever notice that your tears are salty? Contact solution matches this acidity level to maintain comfort and sterilize the lens and your eye.
4. Use old contact solution or an old lens caseYes, contact solution can expire and it’s best not to use it when it does. If you find yourself with expired solution, it’s time to buy a new bottle! If you are a rare contact lens wearer and find your solution expiring often, we suggest buying smaller bottles, such as travel size, to limit waste (and save your $$$!).
Using an old contacts case is like putting those cornea huggers into a petri dish. You should be replacing your contacts case at least every 3 months. These are inexpensive and can be purchased in packs. Plus, most contact lens solutions include a new case in the box!
5. Wear a friend’s contact lensesIt does not matter if you have the same prescription or wear the same brand, it is never advised to wear someone else’s contact lenses. There are a lot of factors that go into contact lens prescriptions that are specific to your eyes!
In the event of a contact lens emergency:
- Have an up-to-date frame prescription (and keep your glasses with you) just in case you are unable to wear your contact lenses.
- Have an extra pair or two of your contact lenses.
- Be aware of stores near you (or online stores too—hint hint) that have your contact lenses in stock. Luckily, Eyeconic offers free shipping AND will keep your valid, up-to-date prescription on file.