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OD Advice: The Right Way to Care For Your Contact Lenses

Contact lens wearers know the importance of proper eye care. A study conducted by Bausch & Lomb this past summer revealed that many adults are using dangerous lubricants in place of lens solution to wet their lenses. Everything from baby oil, to lemonade to petroleum jelly was reportedly used as a substitute to proper contact solution by one eighth of the two thousand adults surveyed in the UK.

Even more of those surveyed indicated that they use saliva when inserting their contacts. Since research shows that the typical adult mouth is known to contain 500 to 650 varieties of bacteria, this is clearly not a good idea. Moreover, far too many individuals think that water from a tap or bottle is a safe replacement for lens solution, nevertheless even pure bottled water or distilled water may contain parasites that can cause damage to the eye and have been associated with Acanthamoeba keratitis, an infection that threatens your eyesight. Even moreso, if you get water in your eyes from a pool, ocean or even a bath while your contacts are in, it's a good idea to take out your contacts as soon as possible and thoroughly rinse them to rinse away any parasites that may have stuck to them.

Disinfecting your contacts is critical and only approved contact lens disinfectants should be used. Never keep your contacts in water! Leaving your contact lenses in water does not sterilize them and dangerous microorganisms can multiply on your contacts within minutes and eventually enter your eyes. Further, contact solution is made to match the acidity of the tear film in your eyes and conversely water can cause discomfort or blurred vision since your contacts may stick or change shape.

When proper storage or cleansing is not possible for you, consider using one-use contacts instead of lenses that you reuse. Be sure to consider way of life when you are choosing between daily disposables and reusable contacts.

Don't forget failure to properly care for your contacts with approved lens solution can cause permanent harm, vision loss and even complete blindness!