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The Importance of Proper Contact Lens Hygiene

Users of contact lenses must practice proper eye hygiene. A study performed by Bausch & Lomb this past August revealed that a large number of adults regularly use dangerous chemicals rather than contact lens solution to keep their lenses moist. Products such as baby oil, beer, coke, Vaseline, fruit juices, butter as well as others were all listed as occasional substitutes, by 20% of the two thousand adults surveyed in the UK.

An even larger number of those queried indicated that they have used saliva when inserting their contacts. Since we know that the mouth of the average adult contains 500 to 650 different types of germs, this can pose a serious health risk to your eyes. Moreover, far too many individuals think that water from a tap or bottle is a safe replacement for contact lens solution, however even pure bottled water or distilled water can contain parasites that can cause damage to the eye and have been associated with Acanthamoeba keratitis, an infection that threatens your eyesight. Even more so, if water enters your eyes from a pool, ocean or even a bath while wearing your contacts, it's recommended to remove your contacts as soon as you can and disinfect them to rinse off any microorganisms that may have stuck to them.

Disinfecting your contact lenses is critical and only the contact lens solution recommended by your eye doctor should be used. Don't ever store your contacts in water! Leaving contact lenses in water does not sterilize them and harmful microorganisms can grow on your contacts almost instantly and enter your eyes once you put them in. Contact lens solution are designed to match the ph of your tears for comfort, remove protein deposits and condition the lenses by making them hydrophilic (water loving) along with killing germs.

The very best way to avoid contamination of lenses and the irritation that can occur with even the best of contact lens solutions is to wear daily disposable contact lenses. Now even astigmatism can be corrected with these user friendly, comfortable, safe contacts. Just wash your hands carefully and throw the lenses away at the end of each day, then start with a fresh, sterile pair of lenses the next morning.

If you do wear lenses that are designed to be cleaned, disinfected, stored over night and worn again the next day, be sure to rub the lenses with the solution prescribed by your eye doctor, rinse and then store in a clean case with fresh solution.  Never reuse contact lens solution left in the case from the night before. After removing your lenses from the case in the morning rinse the case in tap water and allow to air dry open.

With either daily disposable or reusable contact lenses it is very important to carefully wash your hands before handling to decrease your risk of infection.