Replacing contact lenses can become an expensive proposition for young adults with progressively worsening eyesight related to keratoconus. If you are afflicted with keratoconus or another corneal disorder, your contact lens options may be limited by this diagnosis to rigid gas permeable (RGP) or scleral contact lenses – and these often cost more than soft contact lenses. Therefore, preventing damage or loss of your contact lenses can be an important cost-saving strategy (and especially if you are a college student or commencing a new professional career).
Described below are some ways to prevent the need for premature replacement of your RGP or scleral contact lenses due to improper handling and care. By scheduling an appointment at a Precision Keratoconus Center office, you can gain a better understanding of your contact lens options as a person living with keratoconus.
Your Contact Lens Storage Case – Why Storage Case Cleanliness Matters
Dust and dirt can accumulate in your contact lens storage case, and can then damage your RGP or scleral contact lenses by scratching them. Additionally, an eye infection can result from wearing contact lenses that have come in contact with dust or dirt. Indeed, the PreventBlindness.org website notes that at least 80 percent of all contact lens wearers are at risk for an eye infection from unsafe use.
For a keratoconus-afflicted person, an eye infection can increase both corneal pain and vision difficulties. People who are immunocompromised and who do not practice hygienic contact lens care are especially prone to severe eye infections.
Remembering Where You Placed Your Contact Lens Storage Case at Night
Keeping your contact lens case in the same place at bedtime each night can help you to not lose your contact lenses. A chosen location that does not foster the sliding of your contact lens storage case at night onto the floor is advisable. Likewise, choosing a regular spot for your contact lens storage case that is not too hot (such as on top of a radiator) or too cold (such as directly in front of an air conditioner) makes the most sense.
Choosing the Right Cleaning Solution for Your Contact Lenses
The cleaning solutions typically available at large chain stores are for meant for utilization with soft contact lenses (rather than RGP or scleral contact lenses). According to Michigan University’s Kellogg Eye Center, RGP contact lenses can be cleaned utilizing hydrogen peroxide-based solutions (or other cleaning solutions) specifically developing for RGP contact lenses.
For scleral contact lenses, an article in 2018 in the Journal of Contact Lens Research and Science suggested that hydrogen peroxide (three percent) based solutions – and that were neutralized with a metallic catalyst – were most effective at minimizing contamination. In terms of disinfection, the effectiveness of this type of solution was followed by solutions composed of chlorhexidine (which was found to be more effective than ammonium derivatives such as quaternary or polyaminopropryl).
This aforementioned article also noted that scleral contact lenses require more intensive cleaning than other contact lenses in order to prevent bacterial growth that can cause an eye infection.
Importance of Proper Insertion of Scleral Contact Lenses
Scleral lenses are recommended for keratoconus-afflicted people who are prone to dry eyes (or pain in the eyes). Since their insertion into the eyes can be more difficult, different tools have been developed to aid in placement of this type of lens over the eye’s sclera.
In order to reduce frustration in inserting a scleral contact lens into the eye, a ring-style lens applicator or bulbed (DVM) plunger can be used (per the DiscoveryEye.org website). An orthodontic band (o-ring) is yet another tool available for this purpose. Discussing your RGP and/or scleral contact lens questions with a professional at the Precision Keratoconus Center can help you to consider the best ways to take care of your contact lenses to maintain them and to prevent an eye infection from developing due to improper contact lens care.