ADVISORY

9 Tips for Healthy Eyes, Healthy Vision

Protect your eyes with these tips from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health (USA).

        Proper Care of Contact Lenses

        While contact lenses are safely used by millions of people every day, they do carry a risk of eye infection. Factors contributing to infection can include:

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

        The single best way to avoid eye infections is to follow proper lens care guidelines as prescribed by your eye care professional. In particular, including a "rub and rinse" step in the lens cleaning process, minimizing contact with water while wearing contact lenses and replacing the lens case frequently can help reduce the risk of infection.

        Taking Care of Your Lenses

         

        The following guidelines for care of contact lenses have been developed in partnership by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Contact Lens Association for Ophthalmologists, the Cornea Society and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.

        Risk of infection varies somewhat depending on the type of contact lens. Single-use daily disposable lenses are the safest type of soft contact lens, in terms of reducing the risk of infection. Rigid gas permeable lenses are a safer alternative than any type of soft contact lens. Your ophthalmologist can help you decide which type of lens is right for you.

        Some experts recommend that if you use contact lenses sporadically you consider using single-use daily disposable lenses

        Taking Care of Your Eyes

        Eye infections can lead to serious vision loss in some cases. Proper care of your eyes is just as important as proper lens care.

        - Remove the contact lenses and consult an ophthalmologist immediately if you experience symptoms such as redness, pain, tearing, increased light sensitivity, blurry vision, discharge or swelling.
        - If you smoke, stop. Studies show that contact lens wearers who smoke have a higher rate of problems than nonsmokers.
        - Beware of using decorative lenses, such as those often sold at costume shops. These lenses have the potential to damage eyes permanently.
        - Get regular eye exams. If you wear contact lenses, you should be examined by an eye care provider annually, and more often as needed.

        As with any prescription, contact lens prescriptions do expire — typically within one year.

        You should see your eye care professional yearly to ensure they continue to have an accurate and appropriate prescription. These regular exams are also important opportunities for reinforcing proper lens care.


        Written by: Kierstan Boyd
        American Academy of Ophthalmology