Top 12 Things Never Do With Colored Contacts

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Once you've gotten past the terrifying prospect of putting a piece of plastic on the surface of your eye, it's easy to believe that you, the contact lens wearer, are invincible. You can basically fly now that you can see without your glasses, so how you treat your contact lenses changes.

However, failing to properly care for these miniature petri dishes can result in a variety of issues, both minor (irritation) and serious (vision loss), so before you consider contact lenses again, consider the following advice from Scott MacRae, M.D., professor of ophthalmology and vision science at the University of Rochester.

Here's What You Should Never Do If You Wear Contact Lenses

1. Handle Contacts Without First Washing Your Hands

Dr. MacRae explains, "Bacteria are really smart, and they move around. If you touch your contacts without washing your hands, you can transfer bacteria to the lenses." Always wash your hands before putting on and taking off your contacts.

2. Reuse Contact Lens Solution Or Store It In The Contact Lens Case

Contact lens solution is quite effective as a disinfectant - until you leave it around for days on end and it builds up. The disinfectant will then be overwhelmed by the bacteria. The same is true for using the same solution repeatedly, which can cause bacteria to multiply and the solution to lose its sterility.

3. Failing To Keep Your Contact Lens Case Dry

"Bacteria love moisture," Dr. MacRae says. He goes on to say that at least half of the medical cases he sees are the result of people failing to dry their contact lens cases. To avoid being admitted to the hospital with a corneal ulcer, dry your contact lens case on a daily basis.

4. Failure To Clean Your Contact Lenses On A Daily Basis

Bacteria, debris, and proteins can accumulate on your contact lenses, triggering an immune response such as giant papillary conjunctivitis (graphic image), which causes a million little bumps on your eyelids. Following that, you may become completely intolerant to contact lenses. This must not happen! To remove debris from your contact lenses, use a cleaning solution and gently rub them with your fingers.

5. Failure To Clean Your Contact Lens Case

Even if you air dry your contact lens case on a regular basis, it must be cleaned. It should be washed once a week with mild soap and water. Allow the case to air dry after thoroughly rinsing it.

6. Insert Your Contact Lenses Into Your Eyes

"I know this happens," Dr. MacRae admits, "but you have a lot more bacteria in your mouth than in your eyes." If you do not clean your lenses after putting them in your mouth, you may develop an infection in your eyes.

7. Excessive Lens Abrasion

"Make it a habit to remove your lenses and rest your eyes on a regular basis," advises Dr. MacRae. If your eye does not receive enough oxygen, the cornea can swell, resulting in corneal abrasions and, eventually, infection if bacteria enter the cornea. In general, your eyes require a period of silence and rest, so make sure you give them that break.

8. Sleeping With Your Contacts In Place

This is related to over-wearing contacts, which you are already aware is not a good idea. However, if your eyes become irritated after taking a nap or wearing your contacts overnight, your eyes will become swollen, which you want to avoid.

9. Failure To Remove Makeup From Your Contact Lenses

You may have had a similar experience in the past. When you were applying eyeliner, some of it got on your contact lenses. If this occurs, do not ignore it. Remove your contact lenses and clean and disinfect them.

10. Wearing Contact Lenses Even If Your Eyes Are Irritated

When your eyes are red and bothering you, remove your contact lenses. Your eyes are irritated for a reason, such as infection or tear stains in your contact lenses. In any case, your body is rejecting the contact lens, so remove it. If you don't have a contact lens case, put your contact lenses in a cup of water. Do not put your contact lenses back in your eyes until they have been thoroughly disinfected.

11. Put On Your Contact Lenses Before Entering The Water

Showers, hot tubs, pools, and other bodies of water can harbor bacteria and amoebas that can wreak havoc on your eyes if your contact lenses are not properly disinfected. A particularly frightening disease known as amoebic keratitis (famous for appearing in hot tubs) can infect you and cause vision loss or even blindness. If you must wear contacts in the shower, close your eyes as much as possible. If you get water on your contacts, remember to clean them, clean them, and then clean them again.

12. You're Rubbing Your Eyes

If you rub your eyes for an extended period of time, whether you wear contact lenses or not, you may be putting yourself at risk for keratitis, a condition in which your cornea changes from round to cone-shaped (kind of like a super-pointed nipple). This can eventually cause blurred vision or necessitate a corneal transplant. To help calm your eyes, try some over-the-counter anti-itch drops.

If you are not making any of the 12 mistakes listed above, please keep it that way. Otherwise, we hope to see you improve over time. Please have a good time with your contacts.

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