If you suffer from less than perfect vision, you may be like 45 million other Americans who wear contact lenses on a regular basis. Contact lenses can be a safe and effective way to see clearly, but they can also increase your chances of getting an eye infection. And, if you're anything like 99 percent External Site of contact lens wearers, you can admit to doing at least one of these bad eye-hygiene habits.
Three habits to avoid when using contact lenses
Handling contacts with unwashed hands
Every time you put in or take out your contacts, wash your hands with soap and water. After you're done washing, dry them well with a clean cloth. Clean hands are one of the best and easiest ways to avoid serious eye infections.
Wearing contacts overnight
Sleeping in any type of contact lens increases the risk of getting a type of corneal infection called microbial keratitis External Site by 6 to 8 times. Unless your eye doctor says it's OK, make it part of your nighttime routine to remove your contacts before your head hits the pillow.
Cleaning contacts with tap water or reusing solution
In general, it's best to keep your contacts away from water or saliva, due to the types of bacteria that can be present. When cleaning, always use fresh contact lens disinfecting solution that's been recommended by your eye care provider. And, after you've had a contact case for about three months, throw it out and get a new one.
Healthy habits = healthy eyes
When it comes to wearing contact lenses, sticking to healthy habits means healthy eyes. In addition to these hygiene tips, keep a backup pair of glasses on hand, just in case you need to take out your contacts. And, schedule a yearly exam with your eye doctor to check your overall eye health and prescription strength. Many times, this exam is covered under your health plan. Log in to myWellmark® to check your benefits.
As always, if you have any questions regarding your contact lens care, contact your professional eye care provider.
Protect your sight with additional benefits
You may also have access to vision coverage options. Check with your authorized Wellmark representative or employer to see what's available to you.
If you're a Medicare supplement member, you may be eligible to enroll in a new vision and hearing plan from Avesis and Amplifon to accompany your coverage. Enroll today, and enjoy broad coverage to protect your sight and your hearing.
Avesis Vision is an independent vision insurance company that does not provide Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield products and services. Avesis Vision is underwritten by Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company, Kansas City, Missouri. Hearing Discount Savings Plan provided by Amplifon. Amplifon is an independent company that does not provide Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield products or services.