How to safely handle contact lenses
Billions of people across the globe wear corrective lenses to improve their vision. Eyeglasses and contact lenses perform similar functions, but there’s a big difference in regard to how to maintain these popular eyewear options.
Estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that around 45 million people in the United States wear contact lenses. Unlike eyeglasses, which can be quickly cleaned with lens cleaner and stored in a safe place to ensure frames don’t brake when they aren’t being worn, contact lenses require significant maintenance. Such maintenance ensures that contact lenses continue to work properly and also keeps the eyes safe from infection and other potential issues.
How to handle contact lenses
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration notes that the consequences can be significant if contact lenses are not cleaned properly, changed appropriately or handled improperly. Infections that can lead to vision loss and other side effects such as pain, blurred vision and redness are all potential side effects if contact lens wearers don’t properly care for their contacts.
Wearing contact lenses is second nature for many people, and that can lead some to overlook the kind of daily maintenance necessary to keep contacts safe and reduce risk for eye infection. The contact lens experts at Bausch + Lomb remind people to follow these rules when handling contact lenses.
• Do not touch your lenses until you have washed your hands thoroughly with a mild soap, rinsed your hands completely and dried them with a lint-free towel.
• Avoid certain soaps. Soaps that contain cold cream, lotion or oily cosmetics should be avoided before handling contact lenses, as residue from these substances can stick to the lenses, potentially causing pain, irritation or blurred vision.
• Handle lenses with your fingertips. When holding contact lenses, hold them between fingertips, not with your fingernails. Fingernails can damage contact lenses if scraped against them, potentially compromising your ability to see.
• Adhere to manufacturer’s instructions. Contact solution labels and contact manufacturer instructions should be strictly adhered to. These guidelines are often product-specific, and Bausch + Lomb notes that not all solutions are safe with all lenses. Whenever you order new lenses, particularly when changing brands, be sure to read maintenance instructions carefully and confirm with your ophthalmologist which solution you should use with your new lenses.
Tens of millions of people wear contact lenses every day. When wearing such lenses, emphasize safe handling at all times to reduce your risk of eye infection.