Protect Your Eyes
You only have one pair of eyes, so take care of them! Healthy Habits = Healthy Eyes. Taking proper care of your contact lenses can help you see better and keep your eyes healthy.
When cared for properly, contact lenses can provide a safe and effective way to correct your vision. In fact, more than 45 million Americans wear contact lenses. However, wearing contact lenses can increase your chance of getting an eye infection—especially if you do not care for your lenses the right way.
Contact Lens Health Starts with You
Your habits, supplies, and eye care provider are all essential to keeping your eyes healthy. Both contact lens wearers and eye care providers play an important role in proper eye care. By following your eye care provider’s instructions on how to properly wear, clean, and store your lenses, you can enjoy the comfort and benefits of contact lenses while lowering your chances of an eye infection.
Follow these healthy habits to safely wear contact lenses and help protect your eyes:
Don’t Sleep in Your Contact Lenses
- Don’t sleep in your contact lenses unless prescribed by your eye care provider. Sleeping while wearing contact lenses has been shown to cause up to 8 times greater risk of an eye infection.
Wash Your Hands
- Always wash your hands with soap and water before handling your lenses.
- Dry your hands well with a clean cloth before touching your contact lenses every time.
Keep Contact Lenses Away From All Water
- Water can introduce germs to the eyes through contact lenses. Remove contact lenses before swimming and avoid showering in them.
Properly Clean Your Lenses
- Rub and rinse your contact lenses with contact lens disinfecting solution—never water or saliva—to clean them each time you remove them.
- Don’t “top off” solution. Use only fresh contact lens disinfecting solution in your case—never mix fresh solution with old or used solution.
- Use only the contact lens solution recommended by your eye care provider.
Take Care of Your Contact Lens Case
- Clean your contact lens case by rubbing and rinsing it with contact lens solution—never water—and then empty and dry with a clean tissue. Store upside down with the caps off after each use.
- Replace your contact lens case at least once every three months.
Talk with Your Eye Care Provider
- Have a conversation with your eye care provider during your next appointment to discuss your contact lens wear and care habits and to help prevent eye infections.
- Visit your eye care provider yearly or as often as he or she recommends.
- Remove your contact lenses immediately and call your eye care provider if you have eye pain, discomfort, redness, or blurred vision.
- Carry a backup pair of glasses with a current prescription—just in case you have to take out your contact lenses.
Tips for Hard, or Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP), Contact Lens Wearers
The wear and care recommendations for soft contact lenses also apply to hard, or rigid gas permeable (RGP or GP), contact lenses. Follow these extra tips:
- Follow the lens cleaning guidance of your eye care provider and the lens solution use instructions. Take care to avoid using tap water to rinse or store your hard contact lenses.
- Hard contact lenses can last much longer than soft contact lenses if cared for properly. Replace your hard contact lenses when recommended to do so by your eye care provider.
What CDC is Doing
CDC works to increase awareness of behaviors and risk factors that can affect the eye health of people who wear contact lenses. As part of that work, CDC provides clear and consistent recommendations about properly wearing, caring for, and maintaining your contact lenses.
CDC organized Contact Lens Health Week (third full week of August) to encourage contact lens wearers to adopt healthy habits that can reduce their chances of getting an eye infection.
A number of tools and materials are available to help promote Contact Lens Health Week and healthy contact lens wear and care throughout the year.
Watch the real stories of three people who got an eye infection due to improper wear and care of contact lenses.
- Data Behind Contact Lens Wear and Care Recommendations
- Children and Contact Lenses
- CDC Healthy Contact Lens Wear Health Promotion Materials
- National Eye Institute Eye Health Topicsexternal icon
- Visit CDC’s Vision Health Initiative website for additional tips to protect your eyes.
- Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s websiteexternal icon for more information on contact lenses.