Trying to prolong the use of contact lenses is understandable. However, cost-cutting shortcuts with contact lenses can cause eye damage

It’s not uncommon to try and extend a monthly contact lens prescription to six weeks in an effort to reduce costs. However, wearing a daily lens for two days consecutively can be a hazardous habit.

“You take a risk when trying to stretch the usage of your contact lenses and could inadvertently cause irreversible and long-term damage to your eyes,’ advises Meriek van den Berg, optometrist at Mellins i-Style, a leading group of optometrists, 

Van den Berg says contact lenses need to be replaced as advised by your optometrist in order to avoid discomfort and eye infection.

“Hygiene is the most important factor in preventing infections caused by contact lenses. The better you care for your contact lenses, the better you care for your eyes. If you suspect that you have an eye-infection it is vital to get to an optometrist as soon as possible to avoid inflicting long-term damage on your eyes. ”

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Here are Van den Berg’s top tips for using contact lenses:

Discard old lenses

Follow the instructions and don’t extend the usage beyond the recommended guidelines.

Wear them less

Remove your contact lenses when you get home.

Rest your contact lenses, and eyes, for one day per week

Lens solution conditions your lenses. Leave them in the solution for 24 hours, once a week. It will also give your eyes a break.

Only use them in healthy eyes

Don’t use your lenses if your eyes are red and itchy, even if caused by allergies or colds.

Use eye drops

Make use of the recommended eye drops if you suffer from dry eyes. This will keep your lenses moist and your eyes comfortable.

Practice stringent hygiene

Organisms and bacteria that grow on your lenses can affect not only the contact lens to make it blurry, but can also cause direct infection of the eye and could potentially lead to blindness. Be fanatical about hygiene by washing your hands before touching your lenses, keeping the contact lens solution bottle closed, and rinsing your contact lens containers regularly.

Don’t reuse lens solution

Use new lens solution every time you rinse and store your contact lenses. Throw away used contact lens solution immediately, to prevent organisms from contaminating your lenses. Also ensure that your lens containers dry out completely between uses, to prevent organisms from surviving.

Use proper lens solution

Avoid alternative methods of lubrication such as tap water and saliva, that are not sterile. These fluids often carry bacteria which lead to contaminated lenses and infected eyes.

Gently rub your lenses

Proteins found in natural tears can cause contact lenses to become dull. You can clean them by gently rubbing them with some contact lens solution daily.

Alternate lens solution

There are two main types of solution. A multi-purpose solution disinfects and ‘conditions’ the lenses while the solutions that contain peroxide disinfect the lenses more effectively. Your optometrist will indicate the correct cleaning regime to be followed.

Wear spectacles

Always have a pair of spectacles to wear when you are not wearing your contact lenses. Zeiss has just launched the ‘Energize Me’ spectacle lens specifically designed to refresh the eyes of contact lens wearers.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.