You love contact lenses. They don’t make your face larger like some glasses frames do, and you don’t have to deal with the disrupted field of vision. However, contacts lens do come with their own set of risks and annoyances. The most important risk is the risk of infection from improper handling and storage.

Get Regular Eye Exams

Before you rush out and buy your next pair of contact lenses, get an eye exam. Eye exams help you in one simple way: they ensure you’re getting the right prescription for your eyes. Without the right prescription, safe handing and cleaning is a moot point. Your eyes will degenerate from having an underpowered Rx.

Eye exams can also serve as a “refresher” course on how to take care of your lenses. This is especially important if you haven’t been to the doctor in a while and you think you might be taking short-cuts on your cleaning regimen.

Wear And Replace Your Lenses According To The Prescribed Schedule

Wearing and replacing your lenses according to the prescribed schedule will help minimize the risk of infection. With contacts, there’s always a risk that you will end up with an eye infection, but wearing lenses longer than the manufacturer’s recommendations dramatically increases that risk.

For daily wear disposable lenses, for example, you must remove and throw away the lens every day. For weekly disposables, you must change them once per week. With lenses that are designed to be cleaned every night, you must remove them and clean them with the proper solution and store them in your lens container. It seems like such a simple thing to do, but many contact lens wearers slack off and eventually pay the price.

Wash Hands Before Handling Contacts

Washing your hands is a basic safety measure. Even if you don’t think your hands are dirty, wash them anyway. You can’t see bacteria and viruses. Also, the sweat and oils from your hands can get into your eyes and irritate them if you don’t wash before inserting or removing your lenses.

All it takes is some warm water and 30 seconds of good scrubbing.

Clean Contact Lenses According To Manufacturer Instructions

So many contact lens wearers throw away the contact lens box, and never read the instructions on how to clean the lenses properly. Big mistake. Some lenses can be cleaned with an all-purpose solution. These lenses are relatively easy to care for. But not all lenses are like this. Yours might have a specific recommended cleaning solution that you must follow.

Why bother? Because protein and debris builds up on the lens. If you don’t clean them properly, with the right solution recommended by your lens manufacturer, you risk a very serious eye infection, scratching your delicate cornea or the lens of your eye, or constant irritation from a dirty contact.

Store Your Lenses In the Proper Storage Case

All non-disposable lenses come with a recommended lens container. Make sure you’re keeping your lenses in them. It will help preserve and protect them so that they don’t rip prematurely.

Roger Anderson is an optometrist. He enjoys writing for eye health and eye care blogs to help people maintain their precious eyes.