Contact Lens Safety Month: Expert Shares Best Practices for Safe Contact Lens 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 belief that contact lenses can be purchased without a prescription. She emphasized that “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” resulting from improper care. It is essential to be vigilant about hygiene to protect your eye health.

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 taking them out immediately. She stated, “With any eye pain, redness, and/or blurred vision, remove the contact lenses immediately,” and added, “If symptoms persist, seek immediate medical evaluation to address potential issues promptly.”

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

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

Addressing common myths regarding contact lens usage, 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 firmly 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.

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

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