8 Mistakes You Might Be Making with Your Contact Lenses
Glasses are great. We love them, in fact, but there are certain occasions that call for contact lenses (basically all of the sweaty months between June and October). If you haven’t worn them in awhile or you’ve worn them for so long, you’re on autopilot now, make sure you don't slip into any these common mistakes.
You Aren’t Washing Your Hands Before Putting Them In
Hand to heart, do you wash your hands every time you put in your contacts? If so, we salute you. For everyone else (including this editor): It’s really important to give your hands a good scrub before handling your lenses (and make sure you get under the nails while you’re at it). Any dirt, oil or bacteria you come into contact with while, say, flushing the toilet, can be transferred to your eyes.
You’re Applying Makeup First
To ensure that errant flecks of mascara, powder or shadow don’t get caught under your lenses, put them in before you apply any makeup.
You Aren't Taking Care of the Case
For starters, keep your case clean by rinsing it and leaving the caps open to dry daily. Next, replace your case every six to eight weeks, as germs can be lurking around inside. (Tip: Many solutions come with an extra case—or ask your eye doctor for a few extras when you go in for your next exam.)
You're Wearing Them in the Shower
Ever notice how your contacts seem to be suctioned onto your eyeballs after a shower? That’s because prolonged exposure to water and humidity can cause the lenses to swell. Apart from being really uncomfortable, the sticking can scratch your corneas, which can lead to infection. Bottom line: Pop your lenses out before you hop into the shower, tub, sauna or swimming pool.
You’re Using Something Other Than Solution
If you’ve been wearing contacts for a while, there has probably been at least one occasion where you didn’t have solution on hand so you…got creative. While we don’t have to explain why sticking lenses in your mouth isn’t a good idea, know that even tap or filtered water can contain harmful microbes that will hurt your eyes.
You’re Reusing Your Solution
Contact solution is meant to disinfect lenses. When you reuse the same solution (or simply top off what’s already there), you’re exposing them to any debris or bacteria that’s left over from the day before. Also, check the label of your solution. If it says saline, switch to a multipurpose or hydrogen peroxide formula instead. Saline, on its own, won’t disinfect the lenses.
You’re Wearing Them for Too Long
Most people can safely wear contacts for up to 14 hours, but as a general rule of thumb, you should switch to glasses as soon as you get home. Your eyes (like the rest of you) need oxygen to operate optimally. At a minimum, always make sure to remove them before you sleep.
You’re Wearing Them Past Their Expiration Date
While it’s tempting to wear those two-week lenses for, say, three or four weeks, you really should stick to their expiration dates. With normal wear, lenses get scratched and coated with residue, which makes them blurry and uncomfortable and can lead to infection.