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Contact Lens Overuse, Irritation and Safety Tips

Aug 17, 2007
Contact lens wearers sometimes become so comfortable with daily use of their lenses that they wear them longer than they should. This can lead to eye irritation, increased inflammation, and perhaps even infection if the problem is not promptly treated. It is important to follow the recommended guidelines for daily wear and report any problems to your doctor.

When you are fitted for contact lenses, your doctor will explain how to get your eyes used to wearing them. Typically, you begin wearing the lenses two to four hours daily, and increase your wear by an hour or two each day until you reach a daily maximum of ten to twelve hours. Whether you wear hard, soft, or disposable lenses, it is important to follow your doctor's recommended guidelines. Dispose of temporary lenses at the suggested time rather than over use them, as this can lead to eye infections, even though you may not first experience warning symptoms, like redness or blurred vision.

Another guideline to follow is the recommended cleaning schedule for your lenses. Don't forget to rinse them in the saline solution that was in your lens kit provided by the doctor. Rinse your lenses each time you wear them, and do the regular cleaning with tablets or special solution, as directed. Don't skimp to save money or time, as bacteria can quickly multiply and cause eye problems if you don't keep up with your cleaning schedule. Never use water to rinse or clean your lenses, as this can damage them. Avoid trying another solution other than the one that was prescribed. If you develop eye symptoms, like irritation, redness, or itchiness, let your doctor know, and he or she may switch the solution in case you are allergic to it. Don't forget to clean the case after each use, and wash your hands before putting in or taking out your lenses.

Never sleep in your contact lenses. Although they may soon feel quite comfortable, keeping them in your eyes overnight may cause eye irritation, and perhaps even damage your eye. Avoid leaving the lenses in for long periods of time, like 16 to 20 hours, when you are taking a road trip or studying for an exam, for example. Keep a pair of reading glasses available for times like these.

You should plan on getting an annual eye exam to check for changes in your vision. Failing to do so may cause eyestrain if your contact lenses are no longer strong enough to maintain clear vision. Your eye doctor can check also for signs of redness or irritation that you may not be able to detect.

Though your contact lenses may seem easy to wear and care for, never take them for granted. Follow professional guidelines and recommendations to get the best use from them, and to keep your lenses, as well as your eyes, in the best possible condition for as long as possible. If you lose a lens in your eye, experience a tearing or painful sensation, or have vision disturbances, let your doctor know right away.
About the Author
Find out how to check your lenses for damage and keep them in healthy condition by visiting The Contact Lens Directory
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