Keep those contact lenses clean!

Every day, many Americans suffer vision loss due to careless hygiene with their contact lenses.

Bacteria are everywhere, and if they start growing in the contact lens the eye can become infected. This is a corneal ulcer, which is very painful and can cause significant loss of vision if not immediately treated. After the corneal ulcer heals, it may leave a scar that can permanently affect vision. Contact lenses are the leading cause of corneal ulcers.

How can this be avoided? Always follow the hygiene routines exactly. Wash your hands before touching the contacts. Do not wear the contacts longer than recommended by your doctor. Make sure the cleaning fluids are newer and have not become contaminated or sat open and unused for a long period of time. Sterilization techniques only work if they are used properly.

When I was younger, long before I became a doctor, I wore contact lenses. If my contact bothered my eye, which would happen a lot, I would remove it and clean it with my saliva. Wow, did I get lucky — no infections! Saliva contains many potentially very harmful bacteria which could have caused a blinding infection. Later on, after becoming an eye specialist, I grew to appreciate how I lucky I was that I did not develop a corneal ulcer. I knew it was not the right thing to do, but little did I know how bad it really was.

In 1996 I had Lasik, and so I haven’t worn contact lenses in 20 years. Lasik is much safer than contact lenses in terms of infection. If you wear contact lenses, consider the convenience and the greater long-safety of replacing your contact lenses with Lasik. For more information, check our website at