The Contact Lens Truth

The Huffington Post recently enlisted the help of two eye care professionals, optometrist Andrea Thau, OD and ophthalmologist Rebecca Taylor, MD to talk about the most common no-nos when using soft contact lens.

Here is their list of top 5 of “What YOU are doing” and “Why you should STOP!” bad habits that contact lens wearers have.

1.      What you’re doing:

You let tap water come into contact with your contact lenses.

Why you should stop: Seems harmless enough, right? Wrong. Tap water isn’t salty like tears are, so contact lenses tend to absorb the water and swell. The contact lens will then “hold” it, which is a problem because water — even water safe to drink — isn’t sterile and contains microorganisms. “If your lens swells, it changes how the lens fits on your eye and it will often make the lens tighten on the eye,” Thau says. This can then create microscopic breaks in your cornea that micro-organisms can get into, potentially causing infection. That’s why it’s important not to shower or swim with your contact lenses in, she says (plus swimming in your contact lenses increases the chances of them coming out of your eye). In addition, you should never use water in place of solution for storing your contact lenses.

2.      What you’re doing:

Your contact lenses are bothering you but you don’t have solution with you, so you use water or your own saliva as “emergency” solution to wash them before popping them back in your eye.

Why you should stop: Two words: bad idea. For the same explanation above, exposing your contact lenses to water isn’t smart, and your saliva is ridden with bacteria that belong in your mouth and not your eye. Putting contacts in your mouth is “like putting them in a petri dish — you just don’t want to do that,” Taylor says. If you do catch yourself in a situation where your contact lenses are bothering you but you don’t have access to solution and a contact lens case, Thau says your best bet is to just throw them away. Another option is to use lubricating drops made for contact lens wearers (not the kinds to combat red eye) to try to relieve any discomfort. And of course, it’s always wise to carry some emergency solution and a contact lens case with you at all times for moments like this.

3.      What you’re doing: You’ve been using the same contact lens case for as long as you can remember.

Why you should stop: First things first: Go to your bathroom and throw that old case away. Contact lens cases should only be used for three months tops before you replace with a new one.

4.      What you’re doing: You put your contact lenses in after putting your makeup on.

Why you should stop: Believe it or not, there is a correct order of application for people who wear both makeup and contacts. To avoid getting makeup on your contact lenses, Thau recommends putting contact lenses in your eyes before applying makeup, and then taking them out before removing eye makeup. On that same note, she also advises against putting creams or lotions on your hands before handling. “Your hands should be clean; put your lenses in first before you handle your lotions!”

5.      What you’re doing: You use waterproof makeup.

Why you should stop: Thau says beware of waterproof makeup! If the makeup gets on the lens, it will bind to it. And because waterproof makeup requires an oil-based remover, it will “grease up the eyes and the lenses.”

For more truths about contact lenses check out the article here

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