Your eyes come equipped with natural defenses: eyelids, lashes and tears. Your lids and lashes, for example, strive to keep dust and foreign bodies from invading the eyeball, while tears wash away most debris that happens to get through. As a further line of defense, tears also coat your eyeballs in an antiviral/antibacterial film known as lysozyme.
These intricate parts work together in order to keep your eyes free from discomfort and infection, but there are other ways ensure healthy eyes too. It’s easy to protect your eyes by following the simple tips listed below:
- Keep your hands clean. This is possibly the single most important tip. After all, think about all the places your hands go and all the things they touch throughout a single day. Consider the fact that your hands, fingers and knuckles are the first responders to an eye itch or discomfort. If you rub your eye with dirty digits, you risk infection and, at the very least, further discomfort. So keep them clean! This tip is especially important for contact lens wearers.
- Anything that comes in contact with your eyes must be CLEAN. Yes, everything – from hand towels, face towels and makeup applicators, to contact lenses, contact cases and the tip of the eye drop bottle. Wet towels are a breeding ground for bacterial and fungal growth, which can easily be transmitted to your eye. Except for your cleaned and disinfected contact lenses, nothing should come in contact with your eyeballs.
- Don’t rub your eyes. You should avoid rubbing your eyes at all costs, even if they itch or feel irritated. Instead, blink to create additional tears/moisture, or administer a sterile eye solution to try and wash away the irritation. Instead of using your hands, try dabbing your eyes with a clean towel, wipe, or tissue.
- Apply makeup carefully. From foundation preparation to eye shadow and mascara application, keep your makeup on the surface of the skin – be careful around close edges. Always avoid makeup’s contact with your eyes.
- Take proper care of contact lenses. When you put in contacts, you’re essentially placing a foreign object on your eyeball, so it is very important that your lenses and hands are clean before insertion or removal. Once removed, be sure to kill bacteria by storing your contacts in the appropriate solution, and never use water to store or clean your lenses – doing so increases risk of infection. Instead, always use a sterile contact lens solution.
Another option to consider is a daily disposable contact. These lenses offer all the freshness and corrective benefits of contact lenses, with less hassle. For instance, many people prefer 1 Day Acuvue Moist, Acuvue 1 Day TruEye or the Focus Dailies line of lenses.
Even though your eyes do indeed have built-in defenses, there are always further steps you can take in order to really keep your eyes safe and protected. Put these hygiene tips into practice and they’ll help you avoid inflammation, bacterial and viral infections for years to come!