You rely on them from the moment you wake up to when you turn off the lights at night. But are you really giving your eyes the care they deserve? We talked to Deeba Chaudri, OD, a New York City-based optometrist with LensCrafters, about her patients’ biggest bloopers when it comes to taking care of their baby blues (or browns, greens, or hazels).
Here’s what not to do to make sure your vision stays healthy well into your golden years.
Sleeping in contact lenses
There are two types of contacts that are FDA-approved for overnight wear, but Chaudri says even those can be risky. In fact, an American Academy of Ophthalmology study revealed that the risk of developing a corneal ulcer is 10 to 15 times greater in extended-wear contact lens users than those who only wear their contacts during the day. And don’t even think about sleeping in any other type of contact lens. “You’re depriving your corneas of oxygen, and that’s a great way to cause infection and encourage bacteria to grow,” Chaudri says.
It’s fine to take a 20-minute nap in your contacts, she says, but it’s safer to take them out beforehand—just in case you oversleep! If you do wake up to realize you’re still sporting your lenses, don’t try to take them out right away; if your eyes are dried out, you could actually pull the top layer of your cornea away with them. Instead, wait 20 to 30 minutes and lubricate with artificial tears before you remove the contacts. Then stick to glasses for the rest of the day.