Let’s be real: contact lenses come with a bit of a learning curve. Whether you’ve just started wearing contacts or you’ve been wearing them for years, it’s easy to develop bad habits. Let’s refresh your knowledge and remind you of a few things you definitely should not do with contacts.

1. Licking your contacts to clean them 👅

You’re out in public, when suddenly you feel something on your contacts. It could be dust or lint…but all you care about is cleaning your contact lenses as soon as possible. You don’t have contact lens solution on you. What do you do?

Why not just give them a lick to clean them? Sorry, but that’s a big NO. It’s not just a gross habit, it actually poses a huge health risk for your eyes.

Although it may feel clean, your mouth is filled with bacteria. Soft contact lenses absorb whatever they come in contact with, so when you lick your contacts, they absorb the bacteria that’s in your saliva. When you put the lens back in your eye, you’re directly inserting those germs onto your cornea, setting you up for infection.

Keratitis is an infection of the outermost layer of the eye and can be extremely painful. Symptoms of keratitis include eye redness, pain, blurred vision, excess discharge or tears, and decreased vision. Licking your contacts can put you at risk of developing keratitis.

What you should do instead:

If you feel like something is on your contact lens, it’s important to clean it as soon as possible for both the safety and comfort of your eyes. Using contact lens solution is the only way to safely clean or rinse your contacts — putting them in your mouth or using anything other than contact lens solution is only going to make things worse.

The easiest way to keep your contacts as clean as possible? Daily contact lenses. If you wear monthly lenses, bacteria builds up over time — even if you clean your lenses regularly. With daily contacts, however, you throw out the old contacts (and bacteria) each evening and replace them with fresh, clean lenses.

2. Sharing contacts 🙈

Sharing is caring — except when it comes to contact lenses, when sharing is actually a really bad idea. Sharing contact lenses is quite difficult, because chances are your prescription is not the exact same as your friend’s prescription. But believe it or not, we’ve seen it happen.

Again, the main reason sharing contact lenses is a bad idea all comes down to bacteria. Sharing contact lenses — even if they’ve just been cleaned — can easily transfer bacteria between the two people involved, leading to eye infections and other potential eye health risks.

The other reason you shouldn’t share contact lenses is that contact lenses are not one size fits all. A contact lens prescription includes precise measurements of your eyes, and these won’t be the same for everyone. Wearing contact lenses that do not fit your eyes can not only be uncomfortable but can also put you at risk of eye health issues such as corneal ulcers.

What you should do instead:

This one is easy: when it comes to contact lenses, it’s okay to be selfish. No matter what, do not share your contact lenses. Opting for daily contact lenses is also a great way to ensure that you have a fresh pair of contacts ready whenever you need them. You can get Aveo daily contacts delivered to your door on a customizable schedule, so that you never find yourself without a new pair of contact lenses ready to go.

3. Napping with contact lenses 💤

Who doesn’t love a good afternoon nap? Unfortunately for contact lens wearers, this can pose a bit of a problem.

Wearing contact lenses while sleeping is one of the highest risks for developing an eye infection. In fact, sleeping with lenses in — whether occasionally or regularly — can increase your risk for eye infections by 6–8 times.

The cornea is part of the eye’s defense against contaminants. However, it requires oxygen and hydration to help keep your eyes healthy. When you’re awake, blinking helps keep your eyes moist and oxygenated, but the supply is significantly decreased when you sleep.

Without adequate oxygen, the cells in the cornea lose their ability to fight bacteria effectively. This can lead to serious eye conditions such as bacterial keratitis, acanthamoeba keratitis, or fungal keratitis.

What you should do instead:

You should always remove your contact lenses before you sleep, but if you happen to fall asleep with them in, don’t panic, but remove them immediately. If they are stuck to your eye, use a few drops of contact lens solution or eye drops, blink a few times, and then try again.

If you use daily contacts, be sure to throw them away after your nap — even if you’ve only worn them for a few hours. Reusing the contact lenses could both cause immediate discomfort and long-term infections. Of course, daily contacts are the best for your eye health. Aveo daily contacts are specifically designed to increase moisture and oxygen in your eyes, so that they can stay as healthy as possible. And, Aveo contacts are so affordable you won’t second guess throwing them out if you accidentally sleep with them in, as you may with monthly contacts.

4. Putting contacts in without washing your hands 🤢

Would you believe that we’ve seen people put their contacts in on the bus? It doesn’t take an expert to tell you that that’s a bad idea. But perhaps more common is people putting their contact lenses in without first washing their hands.

Everything your hands touch — from your steering wheel to your keyboard — carry germs and bacteria. When you put your contact lenses in without washing your hands, those germs and bacteria are transferred directly into your eye. As mentioned before, this can cause eye infections such as keratitis.

What you should do instead:

Always, always wash your hands — when you put your contacts in and when you take them out! Clean hands will help keep your contact lenses safe and your eyes healthy.

Read more: 4 Things I Wish I Knew About Eye Health

5. Swimming with contact lenses 🌊

Swimming with contact lenses might not seem that bad, but let’s first cover the facts.

Water is home to all sorts of microbes and viruses, one of the scariest being acanthamoeba. When this microorganism comes in contact with the cornea, a condition called acanthamoeba keratitis can occur, which can cause infection, inflammation, and even permanent vision loss.

Although lakes and oceans may be worse, even chlorinated pools aren’t safe. Chlorine doesn’t kill every microorganism, and due to the porous nature of contact lenses, bacteria can get trapped between the contact lens and your eye, increasing the risk of infection.

On top of all this, fresh water and chlorinated water can cause soft contact lenses to shrink and tighten against your eye, causing severe discomfort.

To be safe, your contact lenses should not be exposed to water of any kind.

What you should do instead:

We get it; even if you should, not everyone can take out their contacts to swim. If you can’t swim safely without wearing your contacts, wearing goggles (you can even get prescription goggles) is your best and safest option.

If you happen to swim with your contact lenses in, be sure to throw them out immediately after swimming and pop in a fresh new pair. Choosing daily contact lenses, such as Aveo contacts, means you’ll always have a clean new pair of contact lenses ready for you.

Learn more about Aveo daily contact lenses.

The do’s of contact lens wearing

Many mistakes can be made when wearing contact lenses, but the good news is that proper lens care doesn’t have to be complicated. Take your contacts out when you swim and sleep, wash your hands frequently, and don’t reuse or overwear your contact lenses. Choosing daily contact lenses, such as Aveo lenses, are not only convenient, but they are also the best option for promoting eye health and achieving happier, healthier eyes.

Start building better habits with your contacts — get 10 pairs of our premium daily contacts for just $5!