Contact Lens Hygiene: 3 Ways to Do Better
If you’re like us, you’ve probably been wearing contact lenses for longer than you’ve had a driver’s license. Over time, it’s not unusual to develop interesting habits when it comes to your contact lens care and routine. We want to remind you of a few ways you can probably improve and ensure you’re doing everything you can to preserve your eye health and sight.
Never Top Off
If you only take away one point from this, make it this one. What we mean by “topping off” is the habit of adding fresh lens solution to the existing old solution already in the case from the day before. Reusing old solution or not cleaning your case out daily encourages microbes to proliferate and infiltrate your lenses. This is literally the recipe for infectious keratitis. You wouldn’t take a bath in old bathwater (we hope!), so why would you subject your lenses and eyes to the same? Each day your contact lenses must be thoroughly disinfected with a multipurpose cleaner, and similarly, your case must be cleaned and air-dried until you use it again at night.
Expirations: Not Just for Food
You may not know this, but your contact lens cases and solution bottles have a recommended throwaway date. When you open a new bottle of contact lens solution or begin using a new lens case, you have three months before you’ll want to replace both. Every new bottle of solution should come with a new case. Dentists have drilled it into us that we should replace our toothbrushes every three months. This is because of bacterial buildup on the bristles- the same is true for your contact lens cases!
Stick to a Schedule
If you’re unsure how often to replace your lenses, we can give you a hint. It’s definitely not when your contact lenses start feeling bad and irritating your eyes. If you’re in a biweekly or monthly replacement contact lens, it can be easy to forget how old your lenses are. Make it easy for yourself by picking a day (or two) a month to replace the lenses. The first of the month is pretty foolproof (and if you wear biweeklies, make it the first and fifteenth). Whether it’s a daily, biweekly, or monthly replacement lens, your lenses will begin to degrade if you extend them beyond their intended wear time.