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Contact lenses are among the safest forms of vision correction when patients follow the proper care and wearing instructions provided by their eye doctor. However, when patients do not use lenses as directed, the consequences may be dangerous.
Contact lenses are medical devices and are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is extremely important that patients maintain regular appointments to ensure they are receiving clinical guidance from their eye doctor based on individual eye health needs.
Clean and safe handling of contact lenses is one of the most important measures contact lens wearers can take to protect their sight. Exercising optimal care and hygiene with contact lenses can keep the eyes healthy.
The American Optometric Association officially recommends 6 months as the appropriate age for an initial eye health exam.
1. Always wash and dry your hands before handling contact lenses.
2. Carefully and regularly clean contact lenses, as directed by your eye doctor. Rub the contact lenses with fingers and rinse thoroughly before soaking lenses overnight in sufficient multi-purpose solution to completely cover the lens.
3. Store lenses in the proper lens storage case and replace your case every three months or sooner. Clean the case after each use, and keep it open and dry between cleanings.
4. Use only products recommended by your eye doctor to clean and disinfect your lenses. Saline solution and rewetting drops are not designed to disinfect lenses.
5. Only fresh solution should be used to clean and store contact lenses. Never re-use old solution. Contact lens solution must be changed according to the manufacturer's recommendations, even if the lenses are not used daily.
6. Always follow the recommended contact lens replacement schedule prescribed by your eye doctor.
7. Remove contact lenses before swimming or entering a hot tub.
8. See your eye doctor yearly for your scheduled contact lens and eye examination.
Things not to Do:
• Use cream soaps. They can leave a film on your hands that can transfer to the lenses.
• Use homemade saline solutions. Improper use of homemade saline solutions has been linked with a potentially blinding condition among soft lens wearers.
• Put contact lenses in your mouth or moisten them with saliva, which is full of bacteria and a potential source of infection.
• Use tap water to wash or store contact lenses or lens cases.
•Share lenses with others.
Signs of Potential Problems
If you experience any of these, contact your optometrist as soon as possible.
• Blurred or fuzzy vision, especially of sudden onset.
• Red, irritated eyes.
• Uncomfortable lenses.
• Pain in and around the eyes