If you wear contact lenses, your ophthalmologist must have told you to avoid sleeping, showering or swimming while wearing them, as it increases the risk of developing bacterial and fungal eye infection. Doctors believe that wearing contact lens increases a person’s risk of eye infection by almost 30 per cent as compared to people who do not wear lenses. Infections are not caused by lenses but because people do not take proper care or have poor lens wearing habits. Sleeping with your contact lenses on, using lenses past the replacement date, reusing old disinfectant solution when storing lenses in a case, etc. are the most common ways you can get an eye infection.

Preventing eye infections and other damage to the eye due to contact lens use is not at all difficult. Here are some habits that you can adopt to handle contact lenses:

Handle with care


If you use contact lens on a regular basis you have to be very careful as you run the risk of damaging your eyes


Before touching lenses wash and dry your hands to remove any dirt or oil that may be on your hand. Always use a lint free towel to dry your hands. Use your finger tips to handle the lens and not nails or sharp objects like tweezers. It’s also a good idea to keep your finger nails short or avoid damaging your lens or your eyes.

To ensure that the lens is free of any debris rinse with your infecting solution before inserting them in the eye. After removing the lens from the eye clean them individually to remove any surface build-up. Put a few drops of the cleaning solution onto your palm and placing the lens on this rub it gently. Rinse with a little solution and store in the case.

Use hair spray before putting in your lens, but put on makeup after your lenses are in your eyes so you don’t get any on your lens. At night remove contact lens before removing makeup.

Always use the disinfecting solution and enzymatic cleaners your eye care practitioner has recommended; different types of lenses require different solutions specific to the type.

Never use tap water or even distilled / bottled water to clean your lens.

Discard the old solution in your case and fill it with fresh solution after cleaning the case with sterile water every time you remove the lens; do not add more solution to what’s already in the case. Do not dry the case after cleaning with towel or cloth; leave it open for a while to air dry. It is recommended that lens storage case be replaced every three months.

Don’t let the tip of the solution bottle touch any surface as it can contaminate the solution. Discard any solution left in the bottle after the expiry date mentioned on it.

Wear lens safely

Don’t wear the lens longer than you should and follow your doctor’s advice on how long you can wear them.

Do not sleep wearing them unless you use extended wear lenses. Sleeping with lenses will dry out and irritate your eye; it can also cause corneal damage.

Never wear another person’s contacts; it can spread infection or particles from their eyes to yours.

Lenses make your eyes more sensitive to ultraviolet rays; wear sunglasses with total UV protection.

Remove the lenses if your eyes become irritated — it means your lens is contaminated. It’s better to check your doctor before reusing the lens.

If your eyes become dry when while wearing lenses use a re-wetting solution to keep them lubricated. Consult your doctor before using any solution.

If you experience any pain in your eyes, swelling or unusual redness, prolonged irritation or watering, persistent blurred vision or loss of vision, stop wearing the lens and consult your ophthalmologist.

Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, September 20th, 2015

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