Contact lenses are one of those devices that have made our lives easier. The convenience of having HD vision without having to wear glasses works wonders for everyone! However, behind every easy-going luxury, such as contact lenses, you must bear some important things in mind. One of them being not wearing your lenses while taking a shower.
Wearing contact lenses in the shower
Not many people wear contact lenses in the shower intentionally. However, some might think wearing contact lenses in the shower is not a bad idea after all, as they might have bad vision and wearing lenses can help them see what products they are using. However, the bottom line is – taking a shower in your contact lenses is a no-no!
Mixing water with contact lenses is always a bad idea. Be it tap, distilled or any form of water, this is because when water touches your lenses, it can make your eyes vulnerable to contamination due to the bacteria or microorganisms that the water contains.
Wearing your contacts in water makes you at a higher risk of infections, one of them being Keratitis, an eye condition caused by Acanthamoeba, which is a type of amoeba found in many water sources such as tap, well, lake and more. It affects the cornea and makes it inflated. Sadly, unlike other organs of our body that have blood vessel networks to deliver the immune cells quickly, the cornea has none and hence, can lead to worse infections. Acanthamoeba Keratitis can be very dangerous, if not treated correctly and quickly, it can even lead to vision loss.
Lenses being thin and delicate, can capture the bacteria between the eye-lens space. If this is a regular practice, this can block oxygen from reaching your eyes, causing potential eye problems in the long term.
Be even more mindful with soft lenses, they’re more absorbent and can easily and quickly absorb water. When wet, contact lenses tend to change shape and cause blurry and uncomfortable vision.
What to do when you’ve accidentally showered with lenses in
First things first, keep calm and don’t panic if you’ve showered in your lenses, mistakes happen! Proceed with the following steps:
- Step out of the shower, dry your hands with a lint-free cloth; you wouldn’t want to make another mistake of letting any lint particles transfer to your eyes
- Gently remove your lenses; this prevents bacteria from getting trapped between your eyes
- If you’re a daily contact lens wearer, bin your lenses straightaway. If you’re a monthly or two-weekly contact lens wearer, check to see if the water has caused any potential damage to the lens, such as a scratch. If yes, throw them away, if your lenses are perfectly fine, clean them properly with a lens solution and if possible, store them in your lens case for a couple of hours (or as recommended on your lens packaging). This will ensure that the bacteria are killed.
- Apply some eye drops to soothe your eyes
- Contact your optometrist at priority if any of the following symptoms persists:
- Eye Discharge
- Teary Eyes
Tips for contact lens wearers
- Showering with contacts is a no-no
- Avoid swimming with your contacts in. If you must wear contacts, wear them with fitted swimming goggles
- Switching to daily contact lenses is also a good idea; on a rainy day, if you damage your contacts, you can just dispose of them, and wear a new pair
- Carrying a spare pair of glasses is important, you never know when they can come in handy
- Wash your hands with soap and dry them properly with a lint-free cloth (to avoid any lint-particles or water drops to enter your contacts) before applying or removing your lenses
- If you’re a two-weekly or monthly lens user, make sure you’re practising good lens hygiene. Don’t forget to clean your lens case too (never with water!). Replace your lens case every three months
- The NHS recommends getting your eyes tested every two years and if you’re opting for contacts, book-in a lens fitting session with your optometrist
Showering in your contacts might sound like a small and insignificant mistake, but it’s quite the opposite. If ignored, this can pose a serious threat to your eyes. Remember to never wear your contacts while showering, swimming or in a hot tub.
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