Great Huffington Post Article Educates Proper Contact Lens Care

9:59 AM

I can't imagine the crickets that Huffington Post writer Amanda Chan must have faced when she pitched her recent article idea concerning contact lens safety to her editors.  Contact lens wearers are a notoriously tough crowd -- most people have a hard time listening to their doctor for advice on their contact lens wear, much less an article in a newspaper.  That's why I applaud the efforts of her article, What Every Contact Lens Wearer Needs to Know (But is Afraid to Ask), for asking contact lens wearers to question the safety of their daily practices.

Large Corneal Scar from contact lens complications.  This
person will never see clearly again! Via

If you are a blog regular, you know that I can get on a major soap box about contact lens compliance.  But that is only because as an optometrist, I am constantly seeing the side effects that contact lens wear can cause.  Contact lens wear can cause permanent scar tissue, and in some cases permanent blindness!  Yet, most of us admit to treating contact lenses carelessly.

How many times in this past year have you stretched the wear time of your contact lens by a few days or weeks (if you say months, really be still my heart!).

How many times did you put the contact lens in your mouth to rehydrate it or run it under tap water?

How many times did you sleep in your lens when you know that you don't wear a lens approved for overnight wear?

And how many times did you toss your lenses into a case of multi-purpose contact lens solution without emptying the case from the night before, or even put them in fresh solution but without rubbing the lens or cleaning it in any way before tossing it in?

And we wonder why there is a 12.5 x greater risk of infection when you wear multiple-wear contact lenses when compared to the industry safety leader, daily disposable options?

I love daily disposable contact lenses because all of those major risk activities we just mentioned are negated when you wear the super-hydrated daily wear options.  No nightly wear needed--you just toss the lens in the trash (or on your nightstand for the next morning's trash) and pop in a fresh pair in the morning.  No cleaning; no risk of overwear.  It is just so easy.  But dailies only make up about 17 percent of American contact lens sales (compared to nearly 40% globally).  So if you don't wear daily lenses, make sure you are taking the steps necessary to keep your eyes healthy for years to come.  One infection can mean you can never wear contact lenses, or have quality vision!, ever again if the infection occurs in the wrong place on your cornea.  Is it really worth the risk of blindness?

Key take homes from my experience (and perfectly outlined by aforementioned article):

  • Know your contact lenses.  Know how often you need to throw them away and if they are approved for overnight wear; and then follow the guidelines.  The FDA tests these lenses to get these guidelines; your doctor doesn't make them up!  But in some cases, your doctor may tell you that with your particular eyes, a certain lens is not safe for you and you may have even stricter contact lens wear guidelines.
  • Know your solutions.  If you are using a "no-rub" solution, it doesn't mean that you just toss your lens in a case.  You have to read the fine-print!  A no-rub solution means you have to "power wash" your contact lens with a stream of fresh solution for 30 seconds before putting in the case with fresh solution.  If you properly are using a no-rub solution, you should use up an entire bottle within 2-3 weeks.  Best just to rub, right?
  • Know how old your case is.  My oh my, have I seen some terrible looking cases.  Cases are petri dishes of bacteria-broth, and if you can actually see dirt on your case, don't put your contact lens in there.  It's a no-brainer.  I strongly recommend the every 3 month disposal of your case rule that Dr. Thau and Dr. Taylor describe in the article.
For more of my contact lens care advice, please see these articles!

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  1. I have read your blog that you write on eye contact . it is really infomatic and helpfull to me as well as for other. good job keep it up.

    1. Thank you so much! If you ever have any topics you would like to read about, feel free to make requests!