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Are Contact Lenses Bad For Your Eyes?

Contact lenses have proven to be a healthy vision option for millions of patients and if you follow all the prescribed steps for inserting, removing and caring for them, contact lenses will continue to be safe and effective.

Because lenses reduce the amount of oxygen reaching your cornea, your risk of developing certain eye problems such as dry eye and corneal ulcers does increase as a contact lens wearer. Factors contributing to this include:

  • Use of extended-wear contact lenses
  • Reduced tear exchange under the lens
  • Poor hygiene
  • Environmental factors

However, visiting your eye doctor regularly and keeping to the recommended contact lens replacement schedule will protect your vision and ensure long-term corneal health.

Importance of Contact Lens Fittings

The first step in safe contact lens practice is to book a comprehensive contact lens fitting with your eye doctor. During this appointment, the optometrist will take several tests to determine the right amount of curve, thickness, and diameter for your specific vision needs.

Poorly fitted contact lenses can lead to a host of problems including:

  • Reduced visual acuity
  • Corneal scratches
  • Contact lens intolerance
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Dryness
  • Unusual eye secretions
  • Stinging/burning/itching/redness

During a contact lens fitting, your eye doctor will also go over the proper care instructions including cleaning, storing and handling of the lenses.

If you suffer from dry eyes, our optometrists can provide effective dry eye care and recommend the right contact lens for you.

Read More: Contact Lenses for Dry Eyes

Taking Care of Your Contact Lenses

Your risk of eye infection varies depending on the type of contact lens you choose. Rigid gas permeable lenses are a safer alternative than any type of soft contact lens and daily disposable lenses carry the least risk out of all the soft contact lens options.

Regardless of the type of contact lenses you decide on, proper contact lens care is essential to your eye health.

Here are a few tips for protecting your vision while wearing contact lenses:

  • ALWAYS wash your hands with soap and water before handling your contact lenses. Be sure to rinse and dry them with a lint-free towel
  • Minimize contact with water. Remove your lenses before showering or swimming
  • Contact lenses SHOULD NOT be rinsed with water (tap or sterile)
  • DO NOT put your contact lenses in your mouth to wet them. Saliva is not a sterile solution
  • Follow the specific contact lens cleaning and storage guidelines as prescribed by your eye doctor
  • Use the ‘rub and rinse’ method when cleaning your contact lenses. During cleaning, rub your lenses with your fingers then rinse the lens with the solution before soaking them
  • If you use a contact lens case, rinse it with solution NOT water and leave it open to dry
  • Keep the contact lens case clean and replace it at least once every 3 months

Taking Care of Your Eyes

Taking care of your eyes is just as important as proper lens care. Failure to do so can lead to eye infections and in certain cases, vision loss.

Here are some tips on how to take care of your eyes if you wear contact lenses:

  • If you experience any symptoms such as redness, itching, increased light sensitivity, blurriness or discharge, remove the contact lens and contact your eye doctor IMMEDIATELY.
  • Stop smoking. Research has shown that contact lens wearers who smoke experience more ocular problems than those who don’t.
  • Schedule regular eye exams. If you wear contact lenses, you should visit your eye doctor annually, or more often if needed.
  • These eye exams are also important opportunities for reinforcing proper contact lens care and for ensuring you have an accurate and updated prescription.

Book A Contact Lens Fitting

To learn more about proper contact lens care, contact our Calgary eye doctors at 403-286-4884 or book a contact lens fitting.

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