Are your contacts safe?

PHOTO: Are your contacts safe?

ARE COSMETIC LENSES DANGEROUS?

These novelty lenses come in trendy colours and can make your irises look larger. Doctors say they are safe, provided you wear and treat them as you would regular ones.

Contrary to popular belief, the size of the lens does not reduce the flow of oxygen to the eye.

Rather, it is the quality of the lens material and how they were made that matters.

Always buy novelty lenses through a licensed optometrist from reputable optical stores, following an eye evaluation and a lens fitting.

Never buy them from websites, blog shops or novelty stores.

Find out what are the other mistakes you could be making when handling lenses and how to avoid them:

#1 contact lens mistake: Wearing them for too long

This is like eating food that's past its expiry date - it's unhygienic and could give you eye infections. Once opened, monthly lenses can only be used for 30 days, even if you've worn yours less than 30 times. The same goes for weekly lenses: Throw them out after seven days.

#2 contact lens mistake: Popping your lenses in after makeup

Put your lenses in when your face is bare - they won't pick up any makeup particles, plus your fingers are more likely to be clean.

When removing makeup, remove your lenses first so they won't absorb any makeup residue.

#3 contact lens mistake: Being careless with the lens solution

When travelling, don't decant your lens solution into smaller containers, as these aren't sterile.

Get travel-size bottles of cleaning solution instead. They're useful even if you aren't on holiday because they get used up more quickly compare to larger bottles, which last longer and become more prone to bacterial growth over time.

#4 contact lens mistake: Not cleaning them well

Unless you use daily disposables, the proper way to reduce protein deposits is to rub the lenses when cleaning them and use protein tablets once a week.

If you find protein tablets troublesome, use a protein-removal solution instead - simply put one drop into a contact lens case that's been filled with multipurpose solution, then soak your lenses overnight.

No-rub solutions are available, but nothing beats rubbing for removing protein deposits.

#5 contact lens mistake: Sleeping without removing them

Yes, this includes 20-minute power naps. Sleeping with your lenses on limits the flow of oxygen to your corneas and increases your risk of infections. Your eyes may also become dry, making it difficult to remove your lenses - you may scratch your corneas.

#6 contact lens mistake: Neglecting your lens case

Bacteria can grow in it, so empty and wash the case every day with warm water, rinse it with a solution recommended by the lens-case manufacturer, then air-dry it. Replace your case every three months, or as recommended by the manufacturer or your optometrist.

Get a copy of the May 2014 issue of Her World, Singapore’s No. 1 women’s magazine. Her World is published by SPH Magazines and is available at all newsstands now.

Check out more stories at Her World online, www.herworld.com.

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