There several well-known precautions all contact lens wearers should take including washing your hands before insertion and removal and cleaning your lenses thoroughly. However, there are a number of hygiene issues around the handling and care of contact lenses that often get overlooked.
Improper care and storing of contacts can lead to eye infections so it is essential to adhere to these dos and don'ts.
Don't reuse solution. Contact lens solution must be changed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, even if the lenses are not used daily.
Don't use saline solution and rewetting drops to disinfect lenses. Neither solution is an effective or approved disinfectant and you could cause damage to your lenses and eyes.
Don't store your lenses anywhere other than the container provided as this can lead to infection.
Don't rinse your lenses with water from the tap. Tap water contains many impurities that can contaminate or damage your lenses and may lead to serious eye infections and loss of vision. Only use contact lens solution to clean your lenses. If a lens falls out, do not use saliva to moisten the lens.
Do read the packaging. Contact lens solution has an expiry date for a reason and should never be used once it has passed this date. The same goes for contact lenses – always throw them away after the prescribed amount of time and never wear lenses that are past their best.
Do remove, clean and disinfect your lenses according to the schedule prescribed by your eye doctor. Remember, what one pair of lenses requires may be different from the next so always read instructions thoroughly.
Do buy your contact lens solution from a reputable retailer and follow directions on packet inserts.
Do replace your lens case monthly. Bacteria can grow in contact lens cases, so it is important to properly use, clean and replace your case, as well as your lenses.
Always seek professional care if your eyes become red, irritated or if you experience any change to your vision.