Overusing your contacts by wearing them too long or too often is a dangerously common practice. This is due to a general lack of knowledge among people as to the potential health risks. Responsible contact lens wear includes being well informed about how to avoid this potentially harmful practice. Contact lens overuse can put you at very serious risk of both shot and long-term problems with your overall visual and eye health. Dr. George Johnson of Advanced Eyecare Center in Phoenix, Arizona comments, “Contacts can be a great alternative to glasses to obtain sharp, accurate and comfortable vision. Contact lens wearers should be made aware that contact lenses are regulated medical devices and, like any other medical device, they come with a very specific set of guidelines and controls to prevent abuse and potential health concerns. A great deal of harm can potentially result from disregarding these guidelines and controls.”
How to Prevent Contact Lenses Overuse - Tips by Our Optometrist in Phoenix, AZ
Many pieces of advice can be given for reducing your chances of contact lens overuse, and Dr. Johnson shares some of the most effective ones below:
Replacing your contact lenses on request exactly as your doctor instructs is extremely important. Dr. Johnson comments, “It is a commonly held, and very dangerous, belief that you can wear your contacts until you feel them becoming uncomfortable, without regard for your doctors instructions or your contacts' generally prescribed wearing life. Don't fall for this. By the time your contact lenses feel uncomfortable, serious damage may have already been done. Daily wear means you are meant to wear them for only 1 day, monthly for only 1 month. Attempting to exceed these recommendations can be extremely harmful.”
To be sure that you have your contacts out for enough time to allow your eyes to rest each week, many eyecare professionals recommend roughly timing how many hours per week you have them out. Dr. Johnson advises that you should have your contact lenses out no less than 18 hours per week to let your eyes recover. Overuse of contacts denies your eyes the ability to “breath” properly and may potentially do a great deal of damage.
Spare glasses are among your most important tools for protecting your eyes when it comes to avoiding contact lens overuse. Contact lens wear puts a strain on your eyes and may cause fatigue and headaches. This is because your eyes are not naturally equipped to deal with the long-term consequences of being covered by a piece of plastic, and the consequent lack of proper moisture and oxygen flow. Wearing your glasses a few days a week instead of your contacts will allow your eyes to rest from this strain.
Choosing your contacts over your glasses some days does not mean that there is nothing you can do that day to reduce your risk. Leave time at the beginning and end of each day with your glasses on and your contacts out. This is easily done by waiting to put in your contacts until you have everything else to get ready for your day has already been finished. Your contacts should then be inserted right before walking out the door to begin your day out. You should also take your contacts out a few hours before going to bed to let your eyes recover at the end of the day.
Too often overlooked are the dangers associated with sleeping, for any amount of time, with your contacts in. Even for just the briefest of naps, keeping your contacts in while sleeping can deny the eyes essential oxygen and hydration, leading to a process called neovascularization. In this process your oxygen starved eye begins to create new blood vessels in places they don't belong in order to make up for the shortage of oxygen. This can seriously harm your ability to see and may lead to more even greater damage to your eyes in the future.
For any questions and further tips, feel free to contact Dr. Johnson today.