Contact Lens Safety Month: Expert Shares Best Practices for Safe Usage

Contact lenses are a convenient and comfortable way to correct vision. However, it is crucial to prioritize safety to avoid potential risks and complications. In honor of Contact Lens Safety Month, we spoke to Carol Rosenstiel, OD, FAAO, an experienced eye care practitioner specializing in contact lenses. With over 30 years of experience fitting various contact lens types, Rosenstiel shared her insights and best practices for safe contact lens usage.

One common misconception that Rosenstiel highlighted is the idea that contact lenses can be purchased without a prescription. She stressed the importance of obtaining a prescription, stating, “Contact lenses are FDA-approved medical devices and should not be purchased without a prescription. Getting a proper eye exam and prescription ensures that your lenses fit correctly and suit your eye health needs.”

Neglecting proper cleaning and hygiene can lead to serious issues with contact lenses. Rosenstiel warned about the potential for “vision-threatening eye infections” due to improper care. To protect your eye health, it is essential to be vigilant about hygiene.

To minimize the risk of eye infections, Rosenstiel provided some essential best practices for cleaning and disinfecting contact lenses. She emphasized the importance of:

– Washing hands with unscented, non-moisturizing soap before handling lenses.

– Following the instructions for disinfecting solutions.

– Using fresh solutions daily and never topping off yesterday’s solution.

– Changing the lens case quarterly to avoid bacterial buildup.

– Adhering to prescribed wear schedule and replacement recommendations.

If you experience discomfort or irritation while wearing contact lenses, Rosenstiel advises removing them immediately. She stated, “With any eye pain, redness, and/or blurred vision, remove the contact lenses immediately. If symptoms persist, seek immediate medical evaluation to address potential issues promptly.”

Regular eye exams are crucial for maintaining eye health and ensuring the safety of your lenses. Rosenstiel recommends annual eye exams unless you experience blurred vision or discomfort. In such cases, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with your eye care professional.

Rosenstiel also highlighted daily disposable soft contact lenses as a significant advancement in contact lens technology. These lenses are not only convenient but also considered the safest option for wearers.

Addressing common myths, Rosenstiel emphasized the importance of never swimming or showering in contact lenses, as well as avoiding hot tubs. She also dispelled the myth that daily contacts can be worn on multiple days if cleaned properly. “No,” she stated firmly, “follow the FDA-approved wearing schedule and disinfection for all contact lenses. Daily disposables should not be worn more than once.”

Rosenstiel strongly advised against using tap water or saliva on contact lenses. “NEVER use tap water on contact lenses,” she warned, emphasizing the importance of using proper disinfecting solutions.

While contact lenses can provide clear vision and comfort when used correctly, safety should always be the top priority for our eye health.

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