1. Wash your hands with soap and water and dry them well with a clean cloth before touching your contact lenses every time.
Not washing hands with soap and water prior to touching your contact lenses is a risk factor for complications related to contact lens wear because germs from the hands are transferred to the contact lenses and the lens case. Washing hands with soap and water, and drying them with a clean, lint-free cloth, is essential each time that contact lenses are inserted and removed.
2. Do NOT sleep in your contact lenses!
Several companies make contact lenses that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to wear during the day and to sleep in; however, sleeping in any type of contact lenses increases the risk of serious eye infections (microbial keratitis) by 4 to 5 times.
3. Keep water away from your contact lenses! Avoid showering in contact lenses, and remove them before using a hot tub or swimming. Never store your contact lenses in water.
Contact lenses are a known risk factor for Acanthamoeba Keratitis. This is a severe type of eye infection caused by a free-living amoeba that is commonly found in water. This is a rare infection (1-21 infections per million contact lens wearers), but it is difficult to treat, extremely painful, and can cause blindness.
4. Rub and rinse your contact lenses with contact lens disinfecting solution—never water or saliva—to clean them each time you remove them.
Improper cleaning of contact lenses raises the risk of complications among contact lens wearers. Rubbing contact lenses with a clean finger and rinsing them with disinfecting solution is the most effective way to remove deposits and microbes from soft contact lenses.
5. Rub and rinse your contact lens case with contact lens solution—never water—and then empty and dry with a clean tissue. Store upside down with the caps off after each use. Replace your contact lens case at least once every three months.
Contaminated contact lens cases have been linked to rare but serious eye infections in contact lens wearers. An invisible layer in the case called a biofilm can become a breeding ground for microscopic germs that can cause infections. These biofilms can be best removed by rubbing and rinsing the case with disinfecting solution, wiping dry with a tissue, and then allowing to air-dry face down with the caps off. The number of moderate to severe contact lens-related infections could be cut in half through implementing this contact lens case cleaning procedure.
6. Replace your contact lenses as often as recommended by your eye doctor.
Studies have shown that contact lens wearers who do not follow recommended replacement schedules have more complications, self-reported discomfort, and poorer vision than contact lens wearers who follow the replacement recommendations.
7. Don’t “top off” solution. Use only fresh contact lens disinfecting solution in your case—never mix fresh solution with old or used solution.
Topping off solution—or mixing fresh solution with used solution in the case for storing contact lenses—has been an important risk factor in serious outbreaks of contact lens-associated infections. Used solution in the case can become contaminated by germs that are on contact lenses or in the contact lens case. An invisible layer called a biofilm can grow in the case and make contact lens disinfecting solution less effective at killing germs.
8. Visit your eye doctor yearly or as often as he or she recommends.
The eye care community generally agrees that yearly eye exams are recommended for contact lens wearers in order to keep their eyes as healthy as possible while wearing contact lenses —particularly given that wearing contact lenses increases the risk for eye infections and complications. Additionally, contact lens wearers often need to have a yearly exam to confirm their prescription so that they may order new supplies of contact lenses.
9. Remove your contact lenses immediately and call your eye doctor if you have eye pain, discomfort, redness, or blurred vision.
10. Carry a backup pair of glasses with a current prescription—just in case you have to take out your contact lenses.
Modified From: http://www.cdc.gov/contactlenses/protect-your-eyes.html
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