Advice from optometrist: Don’t commit these mistakes | Inquirer Opinion

Advice from optometrist: Don’t commit these mistakes

Because contact lenses rest directly on the cornea, great care must be taken to ensure that it does not cause injury or discomfort to the eye. Here are some common mistakes that contact lens wearers make that cause or make such incidents more likely to happen:

1. Failing to observe the most basic of all rules regarding contact lens wear: washing hands before and after applying them in the eye. Our hands are almost always not clean. Frequent handwashing is recommended to prevent microorganisms and other contaminants from attaching to the contact lenses during handling

2. Not consulting with an eye care professional for the best and safest contact lens material and modality that fits one’s lifestyle. For example: If you use contact lenses when you’re in the gym to workout, the perspiration you generate will get into the contact lenses. The perspiration will be full of all sorts of microorganisms. Thus, they have to be discarded immediately. People who work out often are recommended to use dailies or daily disposable contact lenses designed for people with active lifestyles or those who would not have much time to regularly follow contact lens use protocols such as rinsing and storing their contacts in clean contact lens cases.

Contact lenses of good quality prescribed by an eye care practitioner consist of FDA-approved material that can be worn for a maximum of 16 hours. You can take a quick nap while wearing contact lenses but are not intended to be worn overnight while sleeping. There are also FDA-approved soft contact lenses which have a very high oxygen permeability that can be worn 29 nights without removal. There are now contact lenses that are approved for overnight wear such as orthokeratology lenses which allow enough oxygen to pass through the eye while sleeping and at the same time able to control the progression of nearsightedness.


3. Borrowing (or lending) colored contact lenses is such an unhygienic practice. As mentioned in #2, we need to be very sure our contacts are clean. Imagine if the person who used the contact lenses before you did not rub and rinse or worse, had an eye infection while wearing the contacts, you will now be wearing unsafe lenses.

4. Not using lubricants for the eye while wearing contacts. Contact lens is a very safe medical device but because it deprives the eye of oxygen from the atmosphere and the tears, it makes our eyes dry and even irritated while wearing. Moisturizing the eye with lubricants makes the contact lens wear more comfortable providing crisp and clear vision.

5. Not using the correct type of contact lens solution. Contact lens solutions must be compatible with the type of contact lens we are using. For example, rigid gas permeable contact lenses are stored in chlorhexidine gluconate (0.03 percent) and edetate solution or polyhexamethylene biguanide hypromellose solution. For soft contact lenses that are monthlies or frequently replaced contacts (every three, six, or 12 months), hydrogen peroxide is recommended as it cleans the contact lenses like a “washing machine.”

6. Not seeing eye care professionals for regular eye exams. Even improper or ill-fitting contact lenses are sometimes still comfortable to wear but symptoms manifest themselves later on.


Redness, irritation, and discomfort while wearing them—resulting in short wearing time, and cloudy and blurry vision are some of the signs that you need to check with your eye care practitioner.

Having regular eye checkups will prevent these things from happening. And there’s always something new that technology is doing to make contact lens wear SAFE for all. A comprehensive eye exam that includes accurate refraction, slit lamp examination, retinal exam, binocular vision assessment, and tear film assessment is recommended. Having dry eyes does not necessarily mean you cannot wear contact lenses. Your eye care practitioner can either treat or manage your dry eye and recommend the best contact lens you can safely use.


7. Not storing contact lenses at cool normal room temperature. Since most contact lenses are stored in blister packs with sterile solution inside to allow the contacts to maintain their form and quality, they need to be kept at a cool normal temperature. The blister packs should indicate expiry dates which means you should be able to wear and discard the contact lens on or before such expiry date.

Carmen Abesamis- Dichoso, OD,


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