Did you know that Contact Lens Health Week is celebrated in August? Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collaborates with partners to organize Contact Lens Health Week during the third full week of August. It is a time to increase public awareness and promote healthy contact lens wear and care. This year Contact Lens Health Week started on August 22. In honor of Contact Lens Health Week, Dr. George G. Khouri of Palm Beach Eye Center is going to discuss contact lens care and the dangers of poor eye care.
What Are Contact Lenses?
Contact lenses are thin lenses that sit on the top of your eye. Just like eyeglasses, they help you see clearly by correcting refractive errors. The types of refractive errors are nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia.
How Do You Care for Your Contact Lenses?
There are a number of different kinds of contact lenses. How you use and care for your contact lenses depends on the type of contact lens you use. If you have questions about caring for your contact lenses, you should talk to your ophthalmologist. In general, you can care for your contact lenses with the following tips:
- Replace your contact lenses as often as your doctor advises. If you have single-use contact lenses, throw them away at night.
- Wear your contact lenses as directed by your doctor. Dr Khouri recommends that all contact lenses be taken out at night even if some are designed to be worn as extended wear, meaning while sleeping. This is because the risk of getting a potentially blinding corneal infection (ulcer) increases by 8-fold when you sleep while wearing extended wear contact lenses.
- Make sure to clean and disinfect your contact lenses as directed.
- Contact lenses and water do not mix. Do not expose your contact lenses to water. This includes showers, bathtubs, swimming pools, lakes, rivers, oceans and water parks. It also includes tap water and saliva.
- Do not reuse contact lens solution.
- Immediately remove your contact lenses if you experience eye irritation or infection.
- Replace your contact lens storage case every three months.
What Are the Dangers of Poor Eye Care?
If you wear and care for contact lenses correctly, they can be as safe as eyeglasses. Unfortunately, most people have bad habits when it comes to contact lens care. Poor contact lens care impacts your eye health and puts you at risk for eye infections — the most serious of which can cause blindness or require a corneal transplant. If you wear contact lenses and experience any of the following symptoms, you may have an eye infection:
- Red eyes
- Irritated eyes
- Pain in and around the eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Watery eyes
- Eye discharge
- Sudden blurry vision
If you experience any of the above symptoms, stop wearing your contact lenses immediately. Use a backup pair of eyeglasses and contact your eye doctor immediately.
We hope you have a great Contact Lens Health Week and that you remember the importance of healthy contact lens wear and care. If you have questions about your contact lenses or would like to schedule a regular eye exam, contact Palm Beach Eye Center today and schedule an appointment with Dr. Khouri.