If you wear contact lenses, you're at a greater risk for eye infections than someone who doesn't wear them. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 1 million people are seen by doctors each year due to eye infections resulting from contact lens use. Why? Not only do contact lenses decrease the amount of oxygen that gets to the eye, which makes your eye more vulnerable to infection, contact lenses can introduce bacteria into the eye if they are not cleaned properly. If you wear contact lenses, you have to be diligent to avoid eye infections. Following are three things you should be doing now to avoid an infection.
Create a Clean Environment
Each and every time you handle your contacts or do anything near your eyes whatsoever, you should create a clean environment. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with warm soap and water before messing with your eyes. You should also clean around your eye before placing your lenses. Always use a new, clean towel each time.
Care for Your Lenses Properly
Unless you wear disposable lenses, you have to disinfect your contacts regularly. While heat is the most effective method for killing any bacteria that might be on the surface of your lenses, most people don't have the equipment for this and have to rely on chemical agents to clean their contacts. If you clean your lenses with a chemical agent, be sure to follow all instructions carefully. Never use solution that you've already used or tap water to clean your lenses. Saline solution is not a disinfectant or sterilizing agent and should not be used as one.
Avoid Introducing Contamination
Avoid rubbing or touching your eyes throughout the day when you have your contacts in. You should also never swim, shower or get into a hot tub with your contacts in since there may be bacteria in the water or on your skin. You only have to rub your eyes once to transfer bacteria from such an environment to your eyes. It's also not a good idea to sleep in your contacts, even if they say you can wear them long term.
Eye infections are more common in people who wear contacts. Fortunately, you can prevent most eye infections by being diligent. All you have to do is care for your contacts properly and avoid certain contaminants as well as risky behaviors to keep your eyes healthy. Contact a company like The Eye Center for more information on caring for your contact lenses.