Don’t Shower with Contact Lenses On – Contact lenses…Without them, all you see is a bunch of blurry figures and shapes. You can’t go without them, so you’d gladly never take your contacts out. I know they’re a real life-saver, but there are places and situations when you’d better go contact-free! Such as: – In the shower, hot tub, and swimming pool What do these places all have in common? Right, water.
And water is full of bacteria. Even seemingly clear ocean, lake, or river water is swimming in microorganisms that are really dangerous for your eyes. In fact, bacteria find it easier to stick to your contacts than they do directly to your eyeballs. Once they grab on, they start to multiply and grow stronger.
The possible result?A nasty infection called Amoebic keratitis. In simpler terms, it’s bad inflammation of the cornea that results from bacterial infection. The cornea is the curved transparent layer that forms the front of the eye. Besides providing protection, it’s also key for vision since it bends and focuses the light that enters the eye.
The disease starts with pain in the eyes and blurred vision. If you do nothing about it, it can even lead to blindness! This is what happened to a 41-year-old UK woman. When her eye doctor asked her about it, she admitted that she often showered in her contacts and didn’t take them out when she went for a swim.
As a result, after just 2 months of living with infection and pain, the vision in her left eye dropped to 20/200. That’s considered legally blind. Although the condition is quite rare and affects only 1 out of 250,000 people, it’s still not a risk worth taking. Treatment is long and difficult. When antibiotics don’t work, it could mean a cornea transplant would be in order.
But even after transplantation, the eyesight rarely goes back to normal. For that UK woman, it only helped her get 20/80 vision. That’s still not good because it means what she can see clearly at 20 feet, a person with good eyesight can see at 80 feet! If there’s no way for you to avoid showering with your contacts in, at least try to keep your eyes closed as much as you can.
This way, you’ll minimize contact between your eyes and the water. Before taking a dive in the pool, remember that you also have a second reason to take those contacts out – chlorine in the water can seriously damage them. Again, if for some reason you can’t leave your lenses in the changing room, put on some tight-fitting goggles.
And if you do get water on your contact lenses, at least remember to clean them thoroughly afterward. – At the gym When you’re getting in a good workout, sweat is always there to prove it. It gets on your back, your hands, the machine you’re using, and, most dangerously, your eyes. You only make it worse when you start wiping and rubbing them, getting even more salty sweat in there.
Well guess what – your sweat is also teeming with bacteria. Anyway, you already know what happens to your lenses when they get into contact with germs. If you’re using chalk to rock climb, do gymnastics, or lift weights, you also need to be careful. You don’t want to accidentally rub your eyes with those chalky hands of yours – it can also cause irritation.
When you’re done with your workout and head to the shower, you have two equally undesirable options: either shower with your contacts in or take them out in the locker room. Unless that changing room is totally sterile , the threat of bacteria invading your lenses is very real!- When you sleep Oh, you have those fancy “extended wear” day and night lenses? Sorry, but no matter what the packaging says, sleeping in your contacts is a bad idea. The least it can do is wear down the quality of your lenses.
The worst: you get a nasty case of keratitis. Think of it this way: you go throughout the day touching your cell phone, door handles, light switches, hand railings, and all kinds of bacteria-infested objects in the world. Even if you’re diligent about washing your hands, the odds that those fingers of yours are covered in bacteria as you rub your eyes at the end of a long work or school day, are pretty high.
You’re exhausted, so you fall into bed thinking, “Eh, one night won’t do any harm if I leave my contacts in”. Unfortunately, the bacteria that managed to get into your lenses now have a WHOLE night to multiply. Yes, 1 single night is enough to do serious damage. A 2012 study showed that people who sleep in their contact lenses even less than once a week have a 6. 5 times higher risk of getting keratitis than people who take their contacts out for the night.
That’s because you’re giving bacteria the closed warm environment they love so much. Bacteria growth aside, that thin piece of plastic covering your eye all night also impedes the flow of oxygen. Even the more porous “extended wear” contacts block that ventilation. Now, the cornea doesn’t have its own blood flow, so it needs direct access to the oxygen in the air.
When you have your contacts in all night and your eyelids closed, you completely prevent it from getting that oxygen. As a result, your eyes dry out and they only get more vulnerable to infection. Just let your eyes breathe and have your contacts spend the night alone disinfecting in their case like they should be.
Other than those places where you should be taking your contacts out, there are plenty of things you should never do if you’re a lens-wearer. Let me know down in the comments if you’re guilty of any of the following!
1. Don’t reuse the same solution.
Contact lens solution is a great disinfectant when used wisely. If you use the same portion of it over and over again and just top it off with a few new drops every now and then, you’re not using it the way it was intended. So, it doesn’t do its job as well!It completely stops being sterile, and as bacteria start to thrive in this environment,it can cause you some less than pleasant eye infections. So only use fresh solution for overnight contact storage!
2. Don’t forget to take good care of your contact case.
First of all, it needs air-drying. Bacteria enjoy moisture, so one sure way to prevent their feast is to deprive them of that. Leaving the case to air out during the day will help. Second, don’t forget to clean it with a gentle soap and water every week. And again, let it air-dry thoroughly when you’re done. Don’t use a towel or toilet paper – they can leave behind tiny fibers that find their way onto your lenses and into your eye!
3. Never leave makeup on your contacts.
You’re putting on eye makeup and a tiny bit of it accidentally gets onto your contact. In case that happens, immediately wash your hands. Then take out the lens and disinfect it before putting it back in. The best you can do is put your makeup on first, then your contacts. Sunscreen doesn’t belong on your contacts either, so if it gets there by accident, run a disinfection immediately.
4. Don’t keep lenses on irritated eyes.
Your eyes don’t start itching and get red for no reason. If they feel dry, you have an infection, or are having an allergic reaction, remove your contacts immediately to prevent more damage. Wait and see if things get better after you’ve taken them out. If it’s not a more serious problem, your eyes might’ve just been rejecting your lenses because you didn’t disinfect them properly.
5. Don’t rub your eyes.
If you rub your eyes with contacts in, you have an increased risk of developing keratoconus. That’s a condition when your cornea changes shape and goes from round to cone-like. If nothing is done about it, it can eventually give you blurred vision. Instead of rubbing your eyes, treat them with some anti-itch drops to calm them.
6. Never leave your lens case in the heat.
Your contacts don’t like water, and they don’t prefer the heat either. If you just take them out for the night, don’t leave the case where the sun will shine directly on it the next morning. Never leave the case in your car either – it can get incredibly hot there. For the same reason, avoid taking it to the beach too. The hotter the case gets, the dryer its contents will become. Got that?