Sharing Contact Lenses

While I harp on my young children day and night to “share,” I know the day is coming when I’ll have to encourage them not to!

I vividly remember my pre-teen and teenage years where sharing hairbrushes, lipstick, eye shadow, as well as drinks and snacks was fairly common.

As disgusting as all of that sounds to me (a germaphobe) now, today I heard a mother complain her daughter was sharing something even more personal than pressed powder.  She was sharing her friend’s colored contact lenses.

Hopefully most contact lens wearers know not to share their lenses.  In fact, you really shouldn’t even share your contact lens case. (Though if a friend is in a real jam you can always get a new one and mandate her to disinfect her lenses overnight before putting them in again!)

Yet, apparently, just as unaffected as I was at using a friend’s lipstick when I was 15, this young girl is more interested in how great her eyes look with green contacts then she is at the potential danger she’s posing to her eye health.

If you or someone you know thinks sharing lenses is a good idea, let me assure you it’s not!  The biggest problem with sharing lenses is bacteria.  All of our eyes have them and, although what is in your eyes is ok for you, it may not be alright for someone else.  Contact with other’s bacteria can lead to serious eye infections.

Sharers can also get eye abrasions.  Contact lenses are fitted for each person’s eye shape and size.  So, if you wear a lens fitted for someone else, you could be in danger of it scratching your eye or doing other damage as it improperly sits on your cornea.

Beyond all of this, if you are trying to wear someone else’s contacts that actually contain a prescription, you may be doing major damage to your eyesight.  Even if that prescription is close to your own, you could be causing permanent damage to your own vision by causing your eyes extra strain or by wearing lenses that over correct for your actual prescription.

My best advice for the mom who’s daughter likes to share contacts is to go ahead and take her daughter to her closest America’s Best optometrist and get her some of her own.  Most teenagers are able to take care of their own contact lenses quite well with the right education on the importance of proper lens care and your optometrist can tell you which types would be easiest to care for.

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