Women Need To Take Special Care With Contact Lenses


More than 30 million Americans pop contact lenses on their eyes every morning, says the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates contact lenses and approves new ones for market. Two-thirds of those 30 million contact lens wearers are female.

Women and Contacts: A Perfect Match, Most of the Time

Why do so many women wear contacts? Well, women are 63% more likely than men to suffer with vision problems, says Prevent Blindness America, an organization that's currently running a campaign on women and eye health.

While the fashion world has done a great job creating stylish glasses, they still shield the eyes, diminishing a naturally beautiful feature women cherish. Hence, the appeal of contact lenses.

But women have to be very careful with contact lenses and eye makeup, which has proven to be a double-edged sword. Eye makeup, especially mascara, can easily lodge in the eye if it's rubbed or if tears are involved. Plus, those applicators can be dangerous, according to womenshealth.gov. The most common cosmetic-related injury is accidentally scratching the eye with a mascara wand.

Practice Good Eye Makeup Hygiene

PBA offers a fact sheet on safe cosmetic use. Here are a few facts that may surprise you:

  • Natural and preservative-free products can harbor bacteria that can harm your eyes.
  • Cosmetics are sensitive to extreme temperature — don't carry them in your purse or leave in your car.
  • Use disposable applicators even for mascara.
  • Always wash your hands before applying makeup.

It goes without saying that a moving car is not a good place to apply makeup, even if you're the passenger, or to share makeup with another person.

With a Little Extra Care, Contact Lenses are Safe to Wear

All contact lens wearers need to pay attention to eye health, says WebMD, noting that eye infections tend to be more severe in this group. Since contact lenses sit directly on the cornea, less oxygen reaches it making it more vulnerable to infection. In addition, the underside of the lens offers a perfect environment for bacteria and viruses to flourish.

Removing lenses before going to sleep gives the eye a chance to oxygenate and wash away any contaminants. Be sure to thoroughly clean off eye makeup before napping or going to sleep for the night. Reusable lenses should be thoroughly disinfected before wearing again. An even better solution is to use daily throw-away lenses and give your eyes a fresh, clean pair every morning.

Annual visits to an optometrist are required to buy contact lenses and can act as a built-in preventive measure. A proper optometrist exam includes checking for eye damage, disease, and infection and counseling on proper lens care. Websites like Vision Direct that dispense contact lenses won't release lenses to customers without a current prescription. Only use trusted sites like this to order lenses. Vision Direct will also let customers know via email when a prescription is about to expire and remind them to get their annual exam.