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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 45 million Americans use contact lenses. Unfortunately, up to 99% of those users engage in at least one contact lens risk behavior that can increase their chances of serious infection or injury. In fact, up to one million doctor and ER visits each year are due to the misuse of these medical devices. For those who wear contacts and for parents with children who wear contacts, relearning proper hygiene and lens care can prevent the vision-threatening eye infections and injuries that are occurring at alarming rates.

What is Proper Contact Lens Usage?

Proper use of contact lenses includes, but is not limited to, thoroughly cleaning lenses after each use and properly sterilizing them before their next use, never sleeping in them, and following instructions on removal and replacement. While it may be tempting to nap in lenses once in a while, even occasional improper use elevates risks for infections and injuries that can threaten vision and cause pain.

If you are a parent who notices that your children are consistently negligent with lens hygiene, consider whether they are responsible and mature enough to wear contacts. And if your child wants to begin a contact prescription, talk to your ophthalmologist to determine if they are a good candidate. It’s always better for children and teens to not have access to these medical devices than to harm themselves through consistent misuse and poor hygiene.

To minimize the risk of serious infection and injury from contact lenses, we recommend the following tips to keep your eyes healthy:

  • Wash hands before touching contacts.
  • Do not sleep, swim, or shower with lenses in.
  • Clean contacts with solution each time you remove them.
  • Replace contacts as often as recommended by your ophthalmologist.
  • Take out contacts if they feel uncomfortable.
  • Never use water to clean off lenses.
  • Visit your ophthalmologist if you have questions or concerns about your eyes or contact lenses.

With proper and responsible care, contact lenses are effective medical devices that provide options for patients who want to improve their vision. Just remember that the tips and guidelines laid out by professionals are not suggestions, but requirements for safety. If you want to learn more about proper contact lens care and usage, please call our Cranford office at (908) 276-3030 or our Westfield office (908) 232-3435 to schedule an appointment. Our team at Better Vision New Jersey is happy to help you care for your eyes and answer any questions you may have.

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