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Find “Corneas Eaten By Amoeba” Horrifying? 20 Top Safety Tips For Every Contact Lens Wearer

Find “Corneas Eaten By Amoeba” Horrifying? 20 Top Safety Tips For Every Contact Lens Wearer

In a horrifying story broken earlier this summer, a Taiwanese woman was discovered to have had amoeba eat through her corneas because she was not careful enough when wearing her contact lenses. The 23 year old student wore her contacts for six months straight and while swimming. Though this is incredibly rare, it creates the perfect opportunity for all of us contact wearers in the world to reevaluate our own contact wearing practices and to reeducate ourselves on how to keep our contacts, and therefore our eyes, clean and sanitary.

Contacts are great: they prevent us from having to wear glasses, they’re disposable, they only take a few seconds to put in every morning, and when you’re traveling, they’re tiny and very portable. But for all the good contacts do, they can also be hazardous. I wear contacts every day, and I didn’t even know most of this stuff.

What you should do:

1. Follow your doctor’s orders.

Once you get your contact prescription from your optometrist, you should make sure you follow his or her wearing instructions. Some contacts are meant to be worn for only one day, while other can be worn during the day for two weeks or more. Some special kinds of contacts can be worn overnight. Make sure you check with your doctor to make sure you’re only wearing them when you should be.

2. Wash your hands before touching them.

This sounds like a no-brainer, but on busy mornings it can be easy to forget. Your hands harbor tons of germs that could potentially infect your eyes, so make sure you wash your hands before handling your contacts.

3. Store them in clean solution.

Each night, store your contacts in fresh solution to ensure that they’re being properly cleaned. If they sit in the same solution for too long, they could begin to be compromised.

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4. Clean them thoroughly.

Every morning before you put your contacts in, use your fingers and fresh solution to clean them. This will prevent germs and other unwelcome things from being transferred to your eyes.

5. Keep up with prescription changes.

It’s important that you wear contacts that are your current prescription. If you feel your prescription has changed, contact your optometrist to discuss ordering new contacts.

6. Regularly replace your contact case.

Even if you do replace the solution every night, your contact lens case can still get dirty and unsanitary. Make sure you buy a new one regularly to prevent problems. Most contact solutions come with a free contact lens case inside the box, so check that before buying a new case by itself.

7. Take out your contacts when you need to.

If your contacts are scratchy or uncomfortable, take them out. If they feel bad, they must not be good for your eyes, so don’t try to suffer through for the sake of looks or convenience.

8. Let your contact lens case air dry.

After cleaning your contact lens case, don’t try to wipe it dry using a towel or a paper product. These can leave small traces of dirt, cloth, germs, and other materials in the case, which can then get on your contact lenses. Set the case out and let it air dry instead.

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9. Take a day off every once in a while.

Contacts are great, but sometimes your eyes need a chance to rest. Every so often, go a day without them to allow your eyes a chance to breathe.

10. Wear sunglasses.

Some people experience more light sensitivity when wearing contacts, so make sure you’re properly protecting your eyes when outdoors with sunglasses or a hat with a bill.

What you should not do:

11. Don’t spit on your contacts.

A lot of people use their saliva in lieu of contact solution, and this is a really bad idea. Your mouth harbors tons of germs that could possibly infect your eyes. Don’t use anything other than contact solution.

12. Don’t go swimming with your contacts in.

The main contributing factor to the Taiwanese woman’s problem, which ultimately led to total blindness in both eyes, was that she went swimming with her contacts in. This can let in all sorts of germs and amoeba into the eye, which can attach to the contact and do major damage.

13. Don’t share contacts.

You never know what kinds of eye problems other people have, so never use anyone’s contact lenses other than your own. Harmful germs and diseases can be spread this way, such as pink eye.

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14. Don’t shower while wearing contacts.

Just as swimming pools and lakes can harbor amoeba, so can shower water. Take your contacts out before hopping in the shower to wash.

15. Don’t sleep in your contacts.

This is a bad idea for several reasons. First, your eyes need to breathe and contacts don’t allow them to do so. Taking them out gives your eyes a break. This also severely dries the contacts out. In the morning when you open your eyes, you run the risk of scratching your corneas because of the dry contacts scraping across them.

16. Don’t wear them if you have an eye infection.

Not only can this exacerbate your eye problem, but it can also make it possible for the infection to transfer to the contact, thus making it impossible to recover even when taking medicine.

17. Don’t wear contacts in dusty environments.

This will only irritate your eyes and make it easy for any possible germs to be trapped between your contact lens and your eyeball, thus making it easy for them to do harm.

18. Don’t wear them if they’re torn.

A tear in your contact can scratch your eye, which can lead to major problems. Either way, it certainly doesn’t feel good, so make sure your contact is intact before putting it in.

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19. Don’t put your contacts in inside out.

Similar to a torn contact, a contact lens that is inside out can scratch your eye and be a source of a lot of discomfort. If you’re finding it hard to tell which way is which, hold the contact on your finger and look at it from the side. If the edges bow out and down, you need to flip it over.

20. Don’t rub your eye while wearing your contacts.

This can dislodge the contact and can also get it stuck somewhere else in your eye. While this is usually a non-emergency, it can become a problem.

 

Featured photo credit: Andy Simmons via flickr.com

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Maggie Heath

Maggie is a passionate writer who blogs about communication and lifestyle on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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