Today’s contact lenses are very comfortable and convenient. It can often be tempting to wear them for longer than your optometrist recommends. However, it is important to realize that overuse of your contact lenses can cause serious damage to your eyes. Learning just a few ways to reduce the chances of contact lens overuse may help your eyes in the long term.
Give your eyes time to breath
Your contacts should be out at least 18 hours every week. Your eyes require oxygen and hydration that can only be obtained through your tears. Allowing your eyes time without lenses in will give them the time needed to revitalize themselves.
Keep a spare pair
Dr. Vincent Penza of City Optometry in San Francisco, California advises, “A spare pair of glasses is essential to allow your eyes a rest from the strain that contact lenses put on them. Choose your glasses over your contacts once or twice a week, or for a few days at the end of the month. This is a simple way to be sure that your eyes are given sufficient time to recover.”
Don’t rush to put them in, and don’t wait to take them out
Only wear your contacts part of the day. Wait to put your contact lenses in at the beginning of the day. Wear your glasses while preparing for the day, and put your contacts in as your very last step. Also, take your contacts out an hour or two before you go to bed. Combining these methods can significantly reduce the chances of overusing your contacts.
Know that contacts and bedtime don’t mix
Unless they are specifically designated as extended wear, never leave your contacts in when you sleep. Leaving your contacts in overnight, or even for a nap of an hour or two during the day can deprive the eyes of a great deal of oxygen. This can lead to neovascularization, a condition in which the cornea is starved of oxygen and blood vessels begin to grow into the cornea to make up for this shortage, seriously harming your vision.
Follow your eye doctor’s instructions
Replacing your contact lenses as prescribed is absolutely essential to keeping your eyes healthy when wearing contact lenses. Daily wear lenses are meant to be worn for one day only and monthly wear lenses are meant to be worn for one month only. Dr. Penza warns, “Attempting to extend the life of your contacts further is a great way to damage your vision. Many people are not cautious about this, and believe that as long as the contacts are comfortable, they are are fine. It is important to realize that this is not the case, and that by the time the contacts are uncomfortable, damage may have already been done.”
For any questions and further tips, contact your eye care professional today.