Five Dangerous Contact Lens Mistakes You’re Probably Making

Over 36 million Americans wear contact lenses. When you first started wearing contacts, an optometrist probably went over the dos and don’ts of caring and cleaning. Maybe during those first few years, you followed those instructions diligently. But, as the years go on, we all start to slack off. Contacts are an amazing resource. But many of us are making potentially harmful mistakes that could cause infections or damage your vision. Here are five seemingly harmless mistakes we all make that could have serious health consequences.


1. Cleaning Your Contact Lens Case With Water

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Most of us know better than to clean our contacts with water, but how about your contact lens case? When you improperly clean your contact lens case you run the risk of damaging your lenses during storage. Water causes the lenses to swell and change form. This could result in your lenses scratching the cornea and causing an infection.

Additionally, the water in your sink can contain harmful microorganisms. People who wash their contact lens cases with tap water have an increased risk of contracting an Acanthamoeba infection. Acanthamoeba is a microorganism responsible for some infections of the cornea and can cause temporary or permanent vision loss. The CDC reports that this infection is often found in people who wear contacts.

Make sure you’re protecting your vision and your contacts by washing your contact lens case out with an optometrist recommended solution.


Most of us know better than to clean our contacts with water, but how about your contact lens case? When you improperly clean your contact lens case you run the risk of damaging your lenses during storage. Water causes the lenses to swell and change form. This could result in your lenses scratching the cornea and causing an infection.

Additionally, the water in your sink can contain harmful microorganisms. People who wash their contact lens cases with tap water have an increased risk of contracting an Acanthamoeba infection. Acanthamoeba is a microorganism responsible for some infections of the cornea and can cause temporary or permanent vision loss. The CDC reports that this infection is often found in people who wear contacts.

Make sure you’re protecting your vision and your contacts by washing your contact lens case out with an optometrist recommended solution. ​ 2. Not Washing and Drying Your Hands


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Washing your hands before you put your contacts in is common sense. But how many of us wash our hands just as thoroughly before taking contacts out? Touching a contact lens with unwashed hands, even momentarily, leaves residue on the surface of your lens. This means that when you put your contacts in the next morning, you’re placing old bacteria right back into your eye.

After you wash your hands, don’t just shake them off or dab them on a towel. Make sure your fingers are properly dried so your contacts are attracted to the moisture in your eye instead of the water left on your fingers. And make sure you’re using a clean towel!


3. Wearing Your Contacts in the Shower

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It’s not just ocean or pool water that can impact your contacts. Surprisingly enough, wearing your contacts in the shower can cause them to absorb harmful bacteria. While facet water is clean enough to shower in, it still contains microorganisms that could potentially damage your eyes.  

In fact, most water sources (pools, bath water, hot tubs, and lakes) contain Acanthamoeba. Remember why you’re not supposed to wash your contact containers out with water? Exposing contact lenses to these water sources warps their shape. This leads to minor scratches on the cornea, making your eye vulnerable to bacteria. Acanthamoeba feed off of bacteria, which makes your eye an ideal host.

To protect yourself, make sure to remove your contacts before showering. ​ 4. Sleeping in Your Contacts


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Some contacts are marketed on their ability for you to sleep in. For wearers who camp and participate in other multi-day activities, these contact lenses seem like the perfect solution. While one day here or there might be fine, wearing contact lenses for long periods of time starves your eyes of oxygen. This is especially problematic for the cornea, which is completely covered by your contact lens. The cornea needs oxygen. Depriving it of oxygen causes the cornea to warp and develop scars. Studies show that sleeping in contact lenses is the major cause of an eye infection known as microbial keratitis. So take your contacts out at night and give your cornea the oxygen it needs!  


5. You’re Not Getting an Annual Exam

Annual eye exams are the number one way of both preventing and uncovering health conditions. Contact lens wearers sometimes fall into the habit of ordering contacts with the same prescription several years in a row. They forget that contact lenses are medical devices and it’s vital to routinely get them (and their impact on your eyes) assessed.

Furthermore, these annual eye exams help optometrists identify the best lenses for the individual. This is based not only on your current health, but also your lifestyle needs. People who exercise intensively and people who stare at a computer screen are going to need a different prescription. A good optometrist will work with you to find a contact fit that suits all your needs.

Schedule An Exam With Eden Prairie Eye Care

Everyone makes mistakes when it comes to their eye health. What’s important is recognizing those mistakes and taking steps to correct them. Dr. Dominique Oker at Eden Prairie Eye Care is here to help you protect your eyes and offer advice for handling contacts.

Contact Eden Prairie Eye Care at 952-944-2792 or schedule an appointment online today. Our friendly staff will make sure you have the information you need to keep your eyes healthy!

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Monday: 11:00am-6:00pm

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Wednesday: 11:00am-6:00pm

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Sunday: CLOSED

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