So you're good about taking your contacts out before sleeping, and you soak them in contact lens solution every night and replace them regularly after the correct amount of time. But do you also take care of your contact lens case?
Here are 5 common mistakes people make:
1. You never wash your case (ew!)
More often than not I notice my patients bring filthy contact lens cases to their exam with dirt buildup and grime all around the edges. Gross!
Once bacteria from all that gunk gets into your contact lens case, it becomes a breeding ground for not-so-nice- things. And every time you store your contact lens in there overnight, that bacteria adheres to the lens and can certainly cause infection when you put that lens onto your eye.
DO rinse and clean out your contact lens case after every use. After you put your contact lenses in, dump out the solution, rinse with fresh contact lens solution, wipe down with a clean tissue, and air dry without the caps on face-down.
2. You rinse your contact lens case with tap water
Harmless, right? It's only water. But, unfortunately, a not-so-friendly microbe, Acanthamoeba, can stick to your contact lens case and lenses and cause a very severe form of keratitis, or corneal infection, that can permanently impair your vision. Symptoms to look out for: eye pain, redness, blurry vision, and light sensitivity.
DO avoid tap water use on your contact lenses and the case.
3. You don't change your contact lens case every 3 months
Bacteria and other microorganisms can still sneak onto your contact lens case even if you are diligent about cleaning your cases properly and the case still looks pristine. I always tell patients to replace the case at least every 3 months or when you open a new solution bottle, whichever comes first. Usually new contact lens solution bottles come with a clean case.
DO change your contact lens cases frequently.
4. You top off contact lens solution
In other words, after you put your contacts on you don't dump out the old solution and only add more on top when you store your contacts.
All of the gunk that was on your contact lens festers in the old contact lens solution, which is a moist, warm environment for bugs to thrive.
DO dump out old solution after inserting your contact lens in the morning.
5. You think using solution every day can prolong the life of your contacts
Unfortunately that is not the case. Daily disposable contact lenses are thinner than biweekly or monthly lenses and are NOT meant to be used with contact lens solution. After the 2-week or 1-month period (depending on what lenses you use), the integrity of the contact lens is compromised and you're more prone to infection/inflammation. Contact lens solutions do not change that fact.
DO change your lenses when they are supposed to be changed (counting from the day you opened the lens package, NOT how many days you actually wear your lenses).
If you are experiencing any symptoms of dry, red, itchy, or painful eyes, see your eye doctor.