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

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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 November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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