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    How to keep athletes’ eyes healthy in contact lenses

    Teach patients with active lifestyles how to care for their lenses on the go

    As a die-hard University of Kentucky basketball fan, I have watched many, many basketball games throughout my life. During these basketball games, I have cringed at a few of my favorite players because I have seen some of the players drop their contact lenses on the court, pick them up, put them in their mouths, and then put them right back in their eyes! How can they possibly think this is safe? I know others who aren’t optometrists probably cringe, too!

    This is noticed because it happens to be on live TV, but what happens when younger contact lens-wearing athletes see these players at collegiate or professional levels do this? This can lead to bad contact lens habits for our athlete patients regardless of age. The best way to prevent this is with a thorough discussion of patients’ hobbies and lifestyle activities, recommending the right modality for these patients, and educating on the proper contact lens care and hygiene.

    Related: What is the best contact lens for your patient?

    Our patients are busy people

    I like to discuss with all my patients not only what their visual needs are but also what their lifestyles are. Lifestyle should go hand in hand with what we recommend to our patients. They might sit at a computer for eight hours a day, but maybe they swim for an hour before work and then meet up with friends after work for hot yoga or a pick-up game of basketball.

    Some of our younger patients are working day and night practicing to become the next LeBron James or Derek Jeter. We focus so much on the fact that they are young, and we want to make sure they can see at school to do their homework. But do we discuss with them what they do outside of school? Addressing the lifestyle aspect during the eye exam will help us better prescribe the right options to help not only keep their vision crystal clear but also keep their eyes healthy. Starting them off with the proper methods will help create better habits later in life. 

    Next: Which is better for our active pateints: Daily or monthly modality?

    Brittany Mitchell, OD
    Dr. Brittany Mitchell practices at Alabama Vision Center in Birmingham, AL, in an OD/MD setting. She is a graduate of the University of ...


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