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UTSW Optometrist Offers Optimum Care Guidelines for Contact Lens Users

DALLAS – Nov. 03, 2022 – A recent viral video showing a California ophthalmologist removing 23 contact lenses from an elderly patient’s eye has drawn attention to the importance of properly using contact lenses to ensure the health of your eyes.

Katrina Parker, O.D.

Katrina Parker, O.D.

Katrina Parker, O.D., an optometrist and Faculty Associate in the Department of Ophthalmology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, said wearing contact lenses requires special daily care to keep them clean and avoid infection.

Contacts should be cleaned daily but never with tap water because of chemicals and bacteria that can irritate and infect the eyes. Only use cleaning/disinfecting solutions recommended by eye care professionals for the specific lens material and avoid expired products.

Dr. Parker said it’s important to follow manufacturers’ guidelines for appropriate disposal of contact lenses. Studies show that patients have fewer complications when lenses are replaced more frequently, and wearers are more compliant and experience fewer problems when using daily disposable lenses.

Although many people sleep in their contact lenses, Dr. Parker advises against it. Overnight contact lens wear can increase ocular health risks, she said.

Dr. Parker also offers these recommendations:

  • Do not swim in contacts. Water can alter lenses’ shape, causing them to swell and adhere to the eye. This can scratch the eye surface, causing pain and infection.
  • Do not share contact lenses. All contacts, even for cosmetic purposes, are considered medical devices and require an evaluation and prescription from an eye care professional.
  • Before using prescribed or over-the-counter eye drops, consult a professional to determine if the lenses need to be removed prior to insertion.
  • A healthy contact lens-wearing experience should not cause redness, pain, or blurred vision. Contact an eye care professional immediately if experiencing these symptoms.