Are Your Contacts Safe?

Health & Medical Blog

Contacts have been around for a long time, and are, in general, quite safe if worn and cleaned correctly. Of course, many people are careless with their contacts and put their vision in danger as a result. Your contacts can definitely be a safe choice for you if you take the time and put forth the effort to wear and maintain them correctly.

Extended Wear

Contact wearers have long wanted to wake up with clear vision and not have to deal with contact insertion and cleaning every morning and night. As a result, extended-wear contacts are popular. They are thinner than other contacts and allow more oxygen to the cornea as a result. They are meant to be worn continuously for days, most often seven.

However, many eye professionals advise against this practice because sleeping in your contacts ups the chances for an eye infection. The lenses trap bacteria up against your eye, and the warm, wet environment allows bacteria to thrive. Newer extended wear lenses carry fewer risks than older models, but your chance of a dangerous eye infection is still higher when you sleep in your contacts.


When you first got your contacts, you probably followed the rules and washed your hands before touching your contacts or your eyes. Familiarity breeds contempt, however, and also bacteria. After a while, you may have started plopping your contacts in using dirty hands. Some people will even rinse their contacts by putting them in their mouths, a truly unhealthy habit. Others will soak and insert their contacts using water. Doing so means you may get Acanthamoeba organisms stuck on your contacts. These organisms can cause corneal ulcers, a condition that can lead to blindness and/or the need for a corneal transplant.

If you have disposable contacts, you may wear them longer than recommended in order to save money. Of course, simply following your optometrist's instructions can prevent most of these complications. Use the proper contact cleaning solutions, soak your contacts as directed, and keep your hands clean. Also, throw away your disposables when you are supposed to.

Contacts are safe but the people who own them may not be. After years of wearing them, you may simply become inured to the dangers and ignore good hygiene practices. Most eye care professionals agree that you should not sleep in your contacts, and you must maintain them correctly through proper cleaning and storage.

For more information, contact local professionals like Jo Johnson, M.D.


27 September 2016