Handle With Care: 4 Things You Don’t Want to Touch Before You Put in Your Contact Lenses

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Everyone knows you should wash your hands before you put in your contact lenses. But, let’s be honest, sometimes we forget that there are certain things we touch that won’t come off of our hands with just one round of soap and water.

A friend of mine was sporting a cute pair of designer eyeglasses the other day. I thought she was wearing them for style until she explained that she decided to put her contact lenses in after making some homemade guacamole. Yes, you probably guessed it. She had sliced and handled several jalapenos and the result…even an hour later…was major pain when she went to put in her lenses.

So, to help us all learn from my friend’s mistake, I’m sharing my top four list of things you may not want to handle within a few hours of putting in your contact lenses.

Jalapeños:

The oil from these, sometimes set-your-mouth-ablaze, peppers is enough to make you feel like you are literally on fire. If you think it feels crazy hot in your mouth, then you can only imagine how uncomfortable that same set-on-fire feeling would be on your eyes. Sure, your eyes will tear and probably recover even faster than your skin might. But, the redness and sting that ensue after handling contacts with jalapeño on your fingers will probably ensure you leave your lenses out for the rest of the day.

Grapefruit:

My breakfast favorite has a bit of an acidic sting to it. Though most of the time within an hour of eating grapefruit the juice will have completely washed off my fingers, when I’ve tried to rush through my morning and go straight from fingering segments to putting in lenses, the results can sting!

Suntan lotion:

Beach vacation and lots of kids to lather up taught me a valuable lesson about when to put in my contact lenses: that is, before touching the suntan lotion. Suntan lotion is designed to stay on your skin and not come off easily — that’s how it works to protect us. So, even a good hand washing won’t take it off most of the time. Those oils then get on your lenses and can cloud your vision and even cause a bit of discomfort. These same principles apply to liquid make-up.

Toothpaste:

The fresh, minty sensation you enjoy in your mouth can be experienced in your eyeballs as well. Though, I’ll tell you it’s not quite as pleasant up there. Be sure to get every hint of toothpaste off your fingers before handling those contact lenses or you’ll be saying, “ow!”

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