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OD Tips: The Right Way to Care For Your Contacts

A study performed by Bausch & Lomb in August showed that an alarming number of people regularly use potentially harmful substances rather than contact solution to keep their lenses moist. Everything from baby oil, to coke to petroleum jelly was reportedly used as a substitute to proper contact solution by 20% of the 2,000 adults polled in the UK.

An even more worrisome number of those queried reported that they use spit when putting lenses in their eyes. Since we know that the mouth of the average adult contains hundreds of varieties of bacteria, this is clearly not a good idea. Additionally, many people believe that tap water, bottled water or distilled water are a safe substitute for contact lens solution, however even those can contain parasites that can cause eye damage 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 wearing your contacts, it's advised to take out your lenses as soon as possible and thoroughly rinse them to rinse off any microorganisms that may have adhered to them.

The only liquid that you should use to wash, cleanse, lubricate or store your contacts is approved contact lens solution. Never keep your lenses in water! Keeping your lenses in water isn't effective in sterilizing them and dangerous pathogens can gather on your contacts within minutes and eventually enter your eyes. Additionally, contact solution is made to compliment the acidity of your tears and conversely water can cause discomfort or blurred vision since your contacts may stick or lose their shape.

At times that you know that you do not have the means to properly disinfect your contacts, use one-use lenses as opposed to resusable lenses. Speak to your eye doctor about taking age, lifestyle and level of maturity into consideration when deciding which contacts are most suitable for the members of your family.

Only individuals that can understand how to properly care for contacts and the importance of doing so should wear contacts, especially long-term wear contacts. Failure to do so can lead to irreversible damage to the eyes, loss of sight and even total blindness!