Using contact lenses to correct vision is a convenient and comfortable option. However, it’s crucial to prioritize safety to avoid any potential risks and complications. In honor of Contact Lens Safety Month, we had the pleasure of speaking with Carol Rosenstiel, OD, FAAO, an experienced eye care practitioner who specializes in contact lenses. With over 30 years of experience fitting various types of contact lenses, Rosenstiel shared her insights and best practices for safe contact lens usage.
Rosenstiel highlighted a common misconception that contact lenses can be purchased without a prescription. She emphasized 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 cater to 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.” Therefore, it’s essential to maintain good hygiene practices 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 stressed the importance of:
• Washing hands with unscented, non-moisturizing soap before handling lenses.
• Following the instructions for disinfecting solutions.
• Using fresh solutions daily and avoiding using yesterday’s solution.
• Changing the lens case every three months to prevent bacterial buildup.
• Adhering to the prescribed wear schedule and replacement recommendations.
If you experience any 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 scheduling annual eye exams unless you experience blurred vision or discomfort. In such cases, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your eye care professional.
Rosenstiel also highlighted the significant advancements in contact lens technology, particularly daily disposable soft contact lenses. These lenses are not only convenient but also considered the safest option for wearers.
Rosenstiel debunked a couple of common myths regarding contact lens usage. First, she emphasized the importance of never swimming or showering while wearing contact lenses, as well as avoiding hot tubs. Secondly, she clarified that daily contacts should not be worn on multiple days even if cleaned properly. She firmly stated, “No, 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. She warned, “NEVER use tap water on contact lenses,” emphasizing the significance of using proper disinfecting solutions.
When used correctly, contact lenses can provide clear vision and comfort. However, it’s crucial to prioritize safety and prioritize our eye health.