Contacts: Wear them with caution

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Wearing contacts is a convenient correction to vision that eliminates the extra pair of glasses. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 41 million contact lens wearers in the U.S. are practicing at least one behavior that can cause risk for eye infection. Wearing contacts also puts a person at risk for eye infections and corneal ulcers. It is important to make sure to avoid the following common mistakes when it comes to wearing contacts.

  1. Don’t wear your contacts for too long: This can cause scarring and loss of vision. Because contacts sit on top of the cornea, they are actually blocking oxygen supply to this area. Letting the cornea have oxygen from time to time is recommended. The longer worn, the higher the risk for germ accumulation.
  2. Wearing contacts in water: They should not be worn in swimming pools or hot tubs. Water has bacteria and it can dehydrate the contacts. They should be taken out before showering too. This includes avoiding ocean water, tap, and distilled water.
  3. Sleeping with contacts: This can dry out the eyes. The lens can also move to the back of the eye during sleep.
  4. Wearing contacts past the expiration date: Residue, bacteria, and proteins can all build up.
  5. Touching contacts with dirty hands: Handling contacts with dirty hands leads to germ exposure. Drying hands after washing them is also recommended to avoid water germs.
  6. Using the proper solution and storage: Harmful organisms can grow in the case. It needs to be disinfected. Contacts should not be put in dirty case.
  7. Be sure to replace contacts every 3 to 5 months. They have a lifespan and should not be expected to perform well after that period of time.
  8. Skipping eye check-ups: If there are problems, the longer they are avoided the harder it becomes to fix the problem.
  9. Don’t mix solutions: Left over solution should be dumped out and not used. A person should not top off the solution in the case with another solution.
  10. Change the storage case: The lens storage case should also be replaced every 3 months.

When it comes to eye health and contacts, it is important to follow all directions. Trying to same money, avoid the doctor, or save time can lead to corneal abrasions, eye irritation the can be very severe, as well as pink eye. Eye conditions develop quickly and not all problems can be fixed. Be proactive and appreciate your vision. In turn, you will get to enjoy seeing all that life has to offer.

https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/contact-lenses/contact-lens-risks

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2783769/

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/13365545_Disposable_contact_lens_as_a_risk_factor_for_microbial_keratitis

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6432a2.htm

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Megan Johnson McCullough owns a fitness studio in Oceanside CA called Every BODY's Fit. She has an M.A. in Physical Education & Health Science, is a current candidate for her Doctorate in Health & Human Performance, and she's an NASM Master Trainer & Instructor. She's also a professional natural bodybuilder, fitness model, Wellness Coach, and AFAA Group Exercise Instructor.