Times When You Shouldn't Wear Your Contact Lenses That You Might Not Think About

If you've just gotten contact lenses and are almost used to them, you might find yourself having days where you forget the lenses are in. That's a good sign that you're adjusting well, but it can be an issue if you encounter a situation in which you shouldn't wear the lenses. You have to be aware of when to take them out and what to do about your vision instead while dealing with whatever is going on. Three situations in particular call for action.

In Water

Water -- salt or fresh -- can render your contact lenses unusable. Either the water can ruin the lenses, such as when you wear the lenses in chlorinated water (the higher sodium levels in that water cause the lenses to lose their own moisture) or it can make the lenses too disgusting to use again (such as when you swim in a fresh water lake contaminated with acanthamoeba, which like to stick to contact lens material). When swimming, remove the contacts and wear prescription swim goggles if possible. If you're determined to wear contacts while swimming, talk to your optometrist about disposable lenses.

In Super-Dry Weather

Very low humidity, such as what you might find in the southwestern deserts of the United States, can lead to a temporary case of dry eye. Unfortunately, wearing contacts when your eyes are dry can be very irritating. Sometimes using artificial tears can help soothe the irritation, but if you find your eyes are still irritated, remove the lenses immediately and contact your optometrist.

In Situations Where You Are Wearing Certain Types of Eye Makeup

Certain types of eye makeup, including lash extender formulas and eyeliner placed on the membrane above your bottom lashes, can get into your eyes. The makeup can block tear ducts, irritate your eyes, and make the lenses dirty. Try to avoid these types of makeup even if you don't have to wear contacts, given the risk to your eyes themselves. However, if you can't avoid the makeup, or don't want to, be sure you do not wear contacts when you use the makeup. Note that disposable lenses aren't going to help you avoid blocked tear ducts or eye irritation, so disposables won't really be a good alternative to wearing your regular lenses.

Your optometrist can give you a more customized list of do's and don'ts for your contact lenses. You may find that there are some situations that will pop up frequently, so talk to your optometrist as soon as you can.

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