In Puerto Rico, January is Eye Care Month, a time to become aware and, if you have not already done so, start taking care of that valuable sense of sight.
While many people use glasses as a remedy to see better, many other people choose to wear contact lenses. In fact, more than 45 million people in the United States wear contact lenses. However, their use can increase the chances of getting an eye infection, especially if the lenses are not properly cared for.
Both contact lens wearers and eye care providers play an important role in proper eye care.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if you follow your eye care provider’s instructions on how to properly wear, clean, and store contact lenses, you can enjoy the comfort and the benefits they offer and reduce your chances of getting an eye infection.
The CDC recommends that you practice the following healthy habits to wear contact lenses safely and protect your eyes:
- Do not sleep with contact lenses on. Sleeping with contact lenses in has been shown to cause an 8 times greater risk of developing an eye infection.
- Handwashing. Always wash your hands with soap and water before handling contact lenses. Dry your hands well with a clean cloth each time you touch your contact lenses.
- Keep contact lenses away from all types of water. Water can introduce germs into the eyes through contact lenses. Remove contact lenses before swimming or getting into water and avoid wearing them while showering.
- Clean contact lenses properly. To clean contact lenses, rub and rinse them with a contact lens disinfectant solution — never water or saliva — every time you remove them.
- Take care of the contact lens case. Clean the contact lens case using a contact lens solution — never water — to rub and rinse; then empty it and dry it with a clean paper towel. Store upside down and uncovered after each use. Replace the case with a new one at least once every three months.
- To be prepared. Bring along a pair of contact lenses, an extra case and solution, and spare glasses with your current prescription, in case you need to remove your contact lenses.