Steer clear of these contact lens habits

There are all kinds of perks that come with wearing contact lenses. But if you don’t follow a few simple rules, they can cause all kinds of problems too. Here’s how to look after your lenses (and your eyes).

Don't wear them all day

While it might be tempting to keep your lenses in longer than your optometrist has advised, it’s not worth it in the long run. As Bupa optometrist Karen Makin explains, “if you wear your contact lenses for more hours every single day, your eyes are going to get sore or tired”.

Don’t put them straight onto your cornea

Place your lenses on the white part of your eye first. “Then, by moving your eye around, shift your lenses onto the centre of your eye”, says Karen. The same rule applies when taking your contacts out – so you don’t risk scratching or damaging your cornea.

Find more info on putting contact lenses in and taking them out.

Try to avoid sleeping with contact lenses in

Some contact lenses can reduce oxygen to your cornea if you sleep while wearing them – which can damage your eyes.

Karen’s advice? It’s only okay if your optometrist gives you the all-clear. “Your optometrist might say occasional overnight wear is fine – say, if you get caught out – or recommend regular overnight wear with removal once a week”.

Give them a break if you’re not feeling well

“If you’re not feeling well – you’ve got a cold, for example – try to avoid putting your lenses in,” Karen says. “It could irritate your eyes more. However, if you have to wear your contact lenses ensure you remove them as soon as possible and discard them so you don’t reintroduce the infection to your eyes by wearing them again.”

Never share your lenses

This is a big no-no. Your lenses are for your eyes only – and sharing them with someone else comes with some serious hygiene risks. Not only that, you could damage your eyes by wearing lenses that don’t fit you properly.

Don’t wear dirty or damaged lenses

Karen recommends you always check your lenses to see if they’re damaged before you put them on your eyes. “If there’s any bits of lint on it, try to remove them or give the lens a good rinse with contact lens solution before putting it in your eye,” she says. “If a lens is torn, you shouldn’t wear it.”

Don’t clean your lenses with tap water or saliva

You should only be using the solutions recommended by your optometrist to clean and disinfect your lenses (make sure you check the expiry date, too!).

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