Contact Lens Myths & Facts
Thanks to the wonders of the World Wide Web, everyone nowadays has instant access to an overwhelming amount of data on contact lenses. Much of this info is solid and evidence-based, but, if we’re being honest, a whole lot of what you read on the Web is pure rubbish.
Unfortunately, some of the phoney contact lens “horror stories” online could deter people interested in trying contacts for the first time. Alternatively, some contacts patients might believe false “hygiene tips” and end up with devastating eye infections.
Here in our Education Portal, we strive to bring the UK’s roughly 3 million contacts-wearers the most accurate, scientific-based info on contacts and eye hygiene. So, in this post, we’re going to expose some of the most commonly believed myths surrounding contact lens design, health, and hygiene. By the time you finish this piece, we promise you’ll feel more empowered, both as a contact lens consumer and user.
Fact Versus Fantasy: Debunking 8 Commonly Held Contact Lens Myths
1. Contacts Can Get Lost Behind A Person’s Eyes
It’s physically impossible for contacts to get stuck behind your eyes. Don’t believe us? Well, pull up an image of the conjunctiva and you’ll instantly see why contacts cannot slip into your brain.
Not only does the clear conjunctiva cover the outer surface of the eye, but it also wraps around the back of the eyelids. This fold in the conjunctivas (called the fornix) creates an impenetrable barrier for contact lenses and any other debris that might get caught in your eyes.
It is possible, however, to get a contact lens stuck under the eyelids. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to dislodge one of these contacts by closing your eye and gently guiding the contact back into place with your fingers. You might have to use quite a few re-wetting drops to properly move the contact lens into place.
If you can’t get the contact lens out of your inner eyelid on your own, then you should call an optometrist for professional help. Leaving contacts behind your eyelids could put you at greater risk for infections and eye damage - although it is safe to do so overnight.
2. Contact Lenses Fall Out All The Time
Cases of soft contact lenses falling out of people’s eyes aren’t unheard of, but they are pretty rare. Thanks to advances in modern contact lens design, it usually takes a great amount of stress to dislodge a soft contact from your eyes.
You should get in touch with your optometrist ASAP if your contact lenses are always falling out. There are many potential reasons this could be the case, but here are a few of the most common explanations:
• Improperly fitting lenses
• Dry eye syndrome
• Frequent eye rubbing
• Playing high-intensity sports
We should note, however, that rigid gas permeable lenses are far more susceptible to falling out of patient’s eyes than soft contact lenses. This is simply due to the fact that gas permeable lenses aren’t designed to conform to a patient’s eyes as well as soft contacts.
You can learn more about why contacts fall out of people’s eyes on this previous post we wrote.
3. Contacts Can Get Stuck To Your Eye Like Glue
There’s no chemical in contact lenses that would allow them to remain stuck to your eyes forever. However, most people experience their contact lenses getting increasingly dry the longer they leave them in their eyes and this can cause them to move less and appear 'stuck'.
Of course, this doesn’t mean wearing contact lenses for extended periods of time doesn’t have its risks. You should always throw away your contact lenses when they reach their expiration date. It’s also a good practice to regularly remove long-term contact lenses, especially continuous wear products, to give your eyes a breather whenever possible.
4. Contacts Can Melt Into The Eyes
There’s no need to fear standing near a hot oven or a BBQ with contacts on since it’s impossible for contact lenses to melt on your eyes.
All contact lenses are subjected to a disinfection process known as autoclaving before they’re released to the public. During this procedure, lenses are placed in a vat of water that’s well over 120 degrees Celsius. So, if contacts can survive the extreme heat of autoclaving, you’d better believe they could handle everyday scenarios like grilling and baking.
For more information on how this “melting myth” got started, check out our previous blog post on this link.
Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 26 Jun 2016, Last modified: 22 Apr 2020