Some 45 million people in the U.S. depend on contact lenses to correct their vision. While contacts are overall very safe, not caring properly for the lenses can lead to eye infections, some of them quite serious. Consumer Reports has some essential advice on how to avoid contact lens infections.
Proper care is crucial. Falling asleep with your contacts in is a common problem. It can increase your chances of an eye infection by six to eight times. Even just a nap with your contacts in can be risky.
Other safety tips? Never rinse with tap water. It’s rare but it could contain a vision-threatening parasite. For the same reason don’t swim with contacts unless you are wearing goggles or wear them in a hot tub.
Another no-no — generally, don’t use week- or monthlong lenses longer than recommended.
Contacts that you use for just one day are more expensive — but Consumer Reports says it might be worth it. Less handling can help make single-use lenses a bit safer than those you use multiple times.
You also won’t have to buy as much disinfecting solution with one-day-only lenses and if you prevent just one infection you’re ahead of the game.
The first sign of trouble with contacts can be redness, pain or irritation. Consumer Reports says you should immediately stop using the contacts and see an eye doctor if the problem doesn’t clear up in a day or two.
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