The Importance of Proper Hygiene When Handling Contact Lenses

If you’re one of the millions of people who wear contact lenses, you know just how convenient they can be. No more glasses constantly sliding down your nose, no more trying to find the perfect pair of frames to match your outfit. But with this great convenience comes a great responsibility: proper hygiene when handling your lenses.

Why is proper hygiene important?

The simple answer is that the bacteria and viruses that live on our hands can easily transfer to our lenses, causing eye infections and other serious problems. But let’s dig a little deeper into why this is such a big deal.

Bacterial infections

Bacterial infections can cause redness, irritation, and discharge, and in severe cases, they can even lead to blindness. These infections can be caused by a variety of bacteria, including Staphylococcus and Streptococcus, both of which are commonly found on our skin.

Viral infections

Viruses like herpes simplex can also cause serious eye infections, especially in those who wear contact lenses. You can catch this virus from someone who has a cold sore on their lip or the surrounding skin, and it can be easily transferred to your eyes if you touch your lenses without washing your hands first.

How to practice proper hygiene when handling your lenses

Washing your hands is the most important thing you can do to prevent infection, but there are a few other tips and tricks you should keep in mind as well.

Wash your hands thoroughly

Use warm water and soap, and scrub for at least 20 seconds, making sure to get between your fingers and under your nails. Rinse your hands well and dry them with a clean towel or air dryer.

Don’t touch your lenses with dirty hands

If you need to remove or insert your lenses and you’re not near a sink, use hand sanitizer or a cleaning wipe to clean your hands first.

Clean and replace your lenses as directed

Follow the instructions on your lens cleaning solution carefully, and don’t try to extend the life of your lenses beyond their recommended wear time. Replace your case regularly, and never reuse solution.

Don’t swim in your contacts

Contact lenses can trap bacteria and other pathogens against your eye, which can lead to serious infections. So if you’re planning on taking a dip, make sure to remove your lenses first.

In summary

Proper hygiene when handling your contact lenses is essential for your eye health. Make sure to always wash your hands before touching your lenses, and follow the instructions for cleaning and replacing them. And remember, if you experience any redness, pain, or discharge, remove your lenses immediately and contact your eye doctor.