When it comes to wearing contacts, it is essential to practice proper eye hygiene. A study conducted by Bausch & Lomb this past August determined that an alarming number of adults are using potentially harmful lubricants in place of contact solution to keep their lenses moist. Everything from baby oil, to fruit juice to butter was reportedly used as an alternative to actual contact lens solution by 20% of the two thousand adults polled in the survey conducted in the UK.
Even more of those queried indicated that they use spit when putting lenses in their eyes. Considering that the average adult mouth contains hundreds of different types of bacteria, this is clearly not a good idea. To worsen the situation, an alarming number of people think that water from a tap or bottle is a safe substitute for contact solution, but even pure bottled water or distilled water can contain microorganisms that can damage the eye and have been associated with Acanthamoeba keratitis, a sight-threatening corneal infection. Even moreso, if water enters your eyes from a pool, ocean or even a bath while wearing your contacts, it's recommended to take out your lenses as soon as possible and thoroughly rinse them to rinse off any parasites that may have adhered to them.
The only thing that you should use to rinse, disinfect, moisten or store your contact lenses is proper lens solution. Never store your lenses in water! Leaving your lenses in water does not thoroughly clean them and harmful bacteria can grow on your lenses in minutes and eventually enter your eyes. Additionally, contact lens solution is made to compliment the saltiness of the tear film in your eyes and conversely water can cause a reaction which makes your contacts change shape or stick causing discomfort and blurred vision.
If necessary storage or cleansing is not possible for you, use one-use contact lenses instead of lenses that you reuse. Be sure to consider daily routine when you are choosing which type of contacts to purchase.
Remember failure to properly clean and disinfect your contacts with proper lens solution can lead to permanent damage to the eyes, loss of vision and even total blindness!
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