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Located on W. Drake Rd. in Ft. Collins West of Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital

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Home » Contact Lenses » Preventing Contact Lens Overuse

Preventing Contact Lens Overuse

Eye doctor, woman wearing contact lenses in Fort Collins, CO

Contact Lens Overuse

Contact lens overuse is an increasingly common eye condition that has significant potential to do serious damage to your eyes, and lead to major eye and vision issues in the future.  Dr. Deanna Alexander of Eyecare Associates in Fort Collins, CO comments “Contact lenses represent a great way to enhance how you look and feel while allowing you to maintain your best vision.

But, they pose a very real risk of damaging your vision if you don't know how to care for and use them properly. It is important to know what to do to allow safe wear of your contacts and avoid this increasingly prevalent and dangerous eye condition.”

The 18 Hour/Week Rule

Eye doctor, woman eyes in Fort Collins, COYour eyes require oxygen just like a person and denying them the opportunity to breathe properly by overwearing your contact lenses can cause severe damage to your eyes. But, how much is too much when it comes to contact lens wear?

To answer this question, eye care professionals have come up with a standard benchmark: If you come in anywhere less than 18 hours a week with your contact lenses out, you are overwearing your contact lenses.

When denied oxygen in this way, the eye may attempt to supply oxygen through neovascularization. This process involves the growth of new blood vessels into parts of the eye that should remain clear and unblocked for your best vision. This can seriously hinder your ability to see, and do serious long-term damage as well.

Spare Glasses: Your First, Best Tool To Protect Your Vision

Eye doctor, a pair of eyeglasses in Fort Collins, COIn working on reducing your contact lens wear, a spare pair of glasses can be your best friend. Studies have shown that wearing your glasses instead of your contacts as little as once or twice every week can significantly reduce your chances of developing symptoms of contact lens overuse by allowing your eyes to rest from the strain put on them by consistent contact lens wear.

Even on days when you choose to wear your contacts, it is possible to take steps to reduce your chances of over wearing your contacts. One easy way to do this is to wait to put your contacts in when you wake up in the morning.

Wear your glasses during your morning prep, and put your contacts in as the very last step before leaving for the day. Taking your contacts out as the first part of your bedtime prep is another great way to help yourself. These two methods combined can significantly reduce your chances of contact lens overuse without having to make a much conscious effort to do so.

Never Sleep With Your Contacts

Sleeping with your contact lenses in is among the leading causes of contact lens overuse. This practice is among the most dangerous and damaging of the many poor lenses wearing choices a person can make.

Overnight contact lens wear, or even wearing them for a short nap during the day, may deny the eyes essential oxygen and hydration, possibly leading to vision-threatening infections and a painful scratch on the surface of the eye called a corneal abrasion, which can cause eye pain, light sensitivity, and excessive tearing. Removing your contact lenses, even for a short nap, is an essential step toward guarding your long-term eye health.

Follow Instructions, Save Your Eyes

Eye doctor, woman putting on a contact lens in Fort Collins, COPossibly the most important part of preventing contact lens overuse is paying close attention to the replacement schedule prescribed by your doctor. Timelines for contact lens replacement are established to protect your eyes from the potentially harmful consequences of contact lens deterioration and calcium deposits that build up on your contact lenses over time.

Many people believe that as long as their contacts are comfortable to wear, there is nothing wrong and no need to replace them. Optometrists have fought against this harmful myth for years. By the time contact lenses are uncomfortable, they may have already begun to damage your eyes in ways that may affect your sight long term.

Whether in an attempt to save money or through simple inattentiveness, wearing your contact lenses beyond their prescribed replacement date is an incredibly harmful practice that could have serious long-term consequences.

For any questions and further tips, contact Dr. Deanna Alexander today.

As of Tuesday evening, March 17th, the CDC has recommended that all routine eye care be deferred until further notice, in order to slow the transmission of COVID-19 through our community. We will follow their recommendations and close our office to regular eye exams until further notice.

Please be assured that we are still available to triage all urgent and emergent issues as well as help you with routine matters during this challenging time.

What does this mean?

1) If you are scheduled for an annual eye examination our office will contact you to reschedule
2) If you need to replace glasses or contact lenses and need an extension on your prescription, please contact us and we will assist you in obtaining some until you can come in for a visit.
3) If you are running out of medication please contact us and we can transmit a refill electronically to your pharmacy.
4) If you have an ocular emergency we are, as always, available to help you at any time. Call us at 970-221-4811.
5) If you have an issue that cannot wait for an office visit, contact us and we will schedule a FaceTime, Skype or telephone appointment with one of our doctors. Medicare has temporarily relaxed its telehealth rules to allow this type of communication during the pandemic crisis. Other insurers may follow suit and allow for reimbursement of virtual care costs. The consultation must be initiated at your request.
6) During this period of social distancing and quarantine, we must all do our part by restricting activities outside the home except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
7) Please remember that 80% of COVID-19 cases are mild and resolve within a week. However, if you feel your symptoms are worsening, call ahead before visiting your doctor’s office or emergency department and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.

The CDC has many wonderful resources. Arming yourself and your family with clear information will help you avoid undue stress.https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html

We have asked our staff to stay home until further notice to protect them, our patients, our city, our nation, and our planet. Despite the financial and emotional hardships this will cause, we ask every one of you to do the same.

Together we will weather this storm.

With sincerest wishes for your continued good health, we remain at your service,

Eyecare Associates