Know contact lens limits

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Q: Why do I need to throw away my contact lenses when they feel fine and I clean them every night? – Wayne J., Noblesville.

A: I get this question all the time. There truly is a health reason for throwing away your contact lenses as your doctor has prescribed – even though they feel fine. Soft contact lenses are extremely porous. They are like sponges and soak up everything with which they come in contact. You may clean the surface of the lenses, but you cannot clean the pores in the lenses. When the pores get clogged, the contact lens is not as breathable. You may be wearing a very healthy and breathable contact lens, but if you are wearing them longer than the prescribed length of time, then you are not getting the oxygen to the cornea that is required for optimum health. This makes you more susceptible to infections, corneal ulcers and corneal edema, which can increase astigmatism. Most contact lenses today are one-day, two-week or monthly replacement lenses. If you are in a two-week replacement routine, throw them away on the first and 15th of each month; it’s much easier to remember that way. Even conventional daily wear contact lenses need to be replaced on an annual basis for the same reasons.

Tammy Wittmann, D.O., is the owner of Wittmann 20/20 Family Eye Care. For more information, call 843-2020 or e-mail twittmann@wittmann2020.com.

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