Not surprisingly, contact lenses require a bit more TLC than eyeglasses. After all, you’re sticking these in your eyes, not on the bridge of your nose! While this seems like a no brainer, far too many people abuse their contact lenses. And a few do things that seem inconceivable, like a 67-year-old woman in the UK scheduled for routine cataract surgery who thought she was suffering from dry eye and the natural effects of aging. Doctors were astonished to find 27 contact lenses stuck in the woman’s right eye! She had been wearing monthly disposable contact lenses for 35 years and apparently thought she had repeatedly dropped the right contact lens — causing her to pop another one in 26 times! She also didn’t go to the eye doctor on a regular basis, perhaps not at all, until she developed clouded vision in the right eye. Miraculously, her left eye was fine.

Give Your Contacts Respect and They’ll Respect You!

You know what? Contact lenses are just asking for a little respect — they don’t want to be the Rodney Dangerfield of medical devices. Contacts irritating eyes is not an uncommon problem, but the good news is most of these issues can be avoided. Here are three common issues associated with contacts and helpful prevention tips.

Dry Eye: Nobody enjoys the sensation of salt or sand in their eyeballs! Perhaps the most common complaint associated with wearing contacts, this problem can partially be remedied by selecting contact lenses for dry eyes. Look for soft lenses with higher water content. And while anyone with dry eyes can benefit from using artificial tears, contact lens wearers need to take extra precautions.

Allergy-Related Eye Irritation: About 75% of contact lens wearers complain of allergy-caused eye irritation at some point. While it may be endearing when cute little babies rub their eyes, this common habit can make matters worse, turning your eyes a shade of red. This isn’t cute unless you’re trying to coordinate your eye color with a closet full of red clothing! In addition to general tips for all allergy sufferers, contact lens wearers can prevent matters from getting worse by following these tips.

Keratitis: Nearly 1 million people visit eye doctors every year in the U.S, due to inflammation of the cornea. In fact, contact lens wearers comprise the vast majority of cases. A few dumb but common habits increase the risk of keratitis. First of all, would you ever wear your eyeglasses when you’re asleep? We certainly hope you aren’t one of the 14% of people who said they wear them to bed always. Don’t wear your contacts when you turn in for the night — even if the box says you can.

Do you throw out kitchen sponges when they get dirty and smelly or use them until they crawl to the garbage bin on their own? Gross kitchen habits aside, would you stick a dirty sponge in your eye?! Contacts are like sponges because they absorb tears, proteins, and germs. Remove your contacts regularly, washing your hands before you do so. Clean and store them properly and throw them out when they wear out — along with those nasty kitchen sponges!

If the above tips don’t work, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible. By all means, give your contacts the respect they deserve — use your noggin, follow all directions, and take a few simple precautions. We don’t get no respect are not words we want to hear coming from your contact lenses ever again!

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