Our eyes: Some say they’re the windows to our soul, and without taking care of them, the beauty of the world could be potentially lost. Vision impairments affect millions of Americans of all ages, and 36 million of those affected wear contact lenses as way to correct their vision. Soft contact lenses were first developed in 1971, but the concept was first introduced in 1508 by Leonardo da Vinci. Contacts, as they are commonly referred to, are a convenience that many people enjoy. They help them experience everyday activities without having a cumbersome pair of glasses sliding down their noses. Even though contacts are easy to wear and relatively safe, there are still some precautions that one should adhere to when wearing them.

1. Wash Your Hands

Always wash your hands before you touch your contact lenses or your eyes. For obvious reasons, our hands pick up dirt and bacteria everywhere, and you don’t want that transferring into your eyes.

2. Don’t Wear Them to Bed

Unless your contacts are made for sleeping, never fall asleep without taking them out. According to research from 2011, wearing contacts and going to bed can lead to blindness.

3. Use a Disinfecting Solution

Depending on the type of contact lenses that you wear, make sure you use the correct lens solution. It’s important to clean the lenses with the proper solution to ensure optimal wear. 

4. Don’t Re-use Your Solution

Recycling solution might save you a couple of bucks, but it could cause an eye infection. If you’re reusing your solution over and over again, you're just letting your contacts sit in a pool of filthy solution, which could lead to an infection.

5. Change Them When You’re Supposed To

Over-wearing contact lenses can cause harm to your cornea, “when the lens starts to break down; the surface starts to break down and take on your protein, [and] mucus and bacteria that normally hangs out with us on our eyelids can lead to infection,” said Dr. Rebecca Taylor, an ophthalmologist, according to The Huffington Post.

6. Don’t Clean Your Lenses With Saliva

Your mouth is filled with a number of different bacteria, so putting that on your eye is just asking for an infection. Before you end up in an emergency situation where the only solution you might have is to use your spit, carry a travel-size bottle.

7. Take Them Out If You Feel Discomfort

Pain is the body’s way of telling us something is wrong. So if you feel any type of pain or discomfort with your lenses, don’t just wait for it to pass, take them out. They might be torn or they might have bacteria on them infecting your eyes. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.