Now that we are more than several months into this COVID pandemic we should know a thing or two about keeping clean. We have been told over and over by the various health experts to wash our hands for at least twenty seconds and wear masks while in public. Many states, ours included, have mandated such practices. Although this may feel like a nuisance at times, it is for the good of the public as a whole. The hand washing aspect of these recommendations should already be commonplace for people that wear contact lenses. A contact lens wearer should also know how to clean his or her contact lens case and should empty and air-dry the case daily. There are an abundance of contact lens care products at your local pharmacy and grocery stores. Picking the right solution for you should not be that hard. First make sure your solution works with your type of contact lens. You do not want a soft lens solution with a hard contact and vice versa. The same reasoning applies to rewetting solutions. Solution should be changed daily. Do not keep old solution and top off with new solution when storing your lenses. This would be equivalent to washing your dishes in day old water that has been sitting in your sink. That practice would provide a place for bacteria to grow. Also be aware of the expiration date on your solutions. If it is past its recommended shelf life, please throw it out. Manufactures put expiration dates on for a reason. Old solution is just not as effective as new solution. Contact lenses also have an expiration date. Old lenses will structurally break down more easily and need to be discarded. Putting old lenses in your eye can lead to unwanted eye infections.
If this terrible pandemic has taught us anything – it is that we should be vigilant about our personal hygiene. Hand washing alone should be accomplished every time you get ready to handle a contact lens. Making sure the contact lens case is clean goes without saying too. Knowing when to dispose of your contacts; whether daily, weekly or monthly can help in maintaining clean lenses and ocular surfaces. These practices all contribute to good ocular hygiene while wearing contact lens. Following these simple guidelines will help in keeping your eyes healthy and your lenses comfortable. Continuing to observe these hygiene habits will add to your efforts to avoid exposure to COVID 19 during the pandemic and will help you avoid exposure to common colds, influenza and the virus and bacteria that cause other infections as well.
Author: Theodore Hallberg, O.D.