As more than 36 million men and women in the United States alone can attest, contact lenses are a safe, effective, and convenient way to treat many of the most common vision problems. Whether you suffer from nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, contact lenses can potentially provide you with clearer and sharper vision, without the clumsiness of eyeglasses. However, the fact that contact lenses are so common and so easy to use can sometimes make it easy to forget that they are also sophisticated medical devices that require regular care and maintenance. Failure to take proper precautions can leave the eyes vulnerable to severe damage, and may potentially result in permanent vision loss. If you use contact lenses, or think that you may need them in the future, here are a few important safely tips that you should keep in mind.
- Follow your contact lens replacement schedule. Individual schedules will vary, depending on your type of lenses, but wearing contacts too long can cause an eye infection and seriously harm your eyesight.
- Clean your lenses properly with contact lens solution. Using either simple saline solution or saliva will not actually disinfect the lenses, and may even expose them to more bacteria.
- Don’t wear your lenses while you are sleeping. While sleeping, the lenses are unable to move, which restricts the flow of lubricating tears and prevents the free exchange of oxygen. This can potentially cause damage to the surface of the eyes themselves in the form of corneal ulcers.
- Avoid wearing disposable contact lenses for an extended period of time. Disposable contact lenses should be discarded and replaced on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, depending on the manufacturer recommendations. Wearing them for longer may allow deposits to form, causing irritation and infection.
- Use only contacts that are specifically fitted for your eyes. Do not share lenses with friends and avoid novelty contact lenses that are sold in costume stores. Lenses that are not properly fitted may scratch the cornea or cause blood vessels to become inflamed.
- Replace your lens case at least every three months to insure bacteria-free storage. Keep your case open and dry between cleanings, which should occur after each use.
- Update your prescription regularly. Your eyes can grow and change over time, and undergoing regularly scheduled diagnostic eye examinations not only keeps your contacts up to date, but can also diagnose serious eye conditions in the earliest stages, so they can be treated before they seriously impact your vision.
If you take care to make sure they stay safe, contact lenses can be a great way to keep your vision sharp. However, they are not necessarily the only option available. Board certified ophthalmologist Dr. William Segal also regularly performs LASIK vision correction surgery that can help alleviate refractive errors and reduce or even eliminate the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses. During a full diagnostic eye exam, our experienced staff can determine whether you are a candidate for this life changing procedure. If you have questions about LASIK vision correction surgery or about your prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, please contact Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons today to make an appointment for a comprehensive medical eye exam. Be sure to follow us on social media as well to get all the latest tips for keeping your eyes healthy.