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5 Safety Slipups That Can Harm Your Teen’s Sight

If your teen wears contact lenses, watch out. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teens make hygiene mistakes that put them at risk for serious eye infections. To help save your teen’s sight, be on the lookout for these common contact lens safety slipups.

  1. Skipping hand washing before touching contact lenses. Germs from your hands can get on the contact lenses and into the case, increasing the risk for infection. Before your teens touch their contacts, even if they wear daily disposable ones, tell them to wash their hands with soap and water. They should also dry their hands with a clean hand towel before putting their contacts in or taking them out.

  2. Using tap water as contact lens solution. Because tap water isn’t sterile, it could contain the amoeba responsible for Acanthamoeba keratitis, a serious eye infection that can lead to blindness. Tell your teen not to store contacts in water, even in a pinch. Teens should also rub and rinse their storage case with sterile contact lens solution instead of using water.

  3. Swimming or showering with contacts. To reduce the risk for Acanthamoeba keratitis and other eye infections, teens should also remove their contact lenses before any activity involving water, including taking a shower, going swimming, or soaking in a hot tub.

  4. Sleeping in contacts. Snoozing in any type of contact lens, including those marketed as “extended wear” or “overnight wear,” increases the risk for serious eye infection. Teens should take out their contacts before bedtime or lying down for a nap.

  5. Reusing or topping off old contact lens solution. This habit can reduce the solution’s germ-killing power. Instead, teens should use fresh disinfecting solution each time they clean and store their lenses. When removing lenses, clean, rub, and rinse them each time, too. Rubbing and rinsing helps remove harmful microbes.


Online Medical Reviewer: Godsey, Cynthia, MSN, APRN, MSHE, FNP-BC
Online Medical Reviewer: Pierce-Smith, Daphne, RN, MSN, CCRC
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2019
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