According to figures from the NHS, there are over million contact lens users in the UK. Contact lenses provide an alternative to glasses that is more convenient – notably when playing sport – and offer more complete vision. For some, the decision to wear contact lenses boils down to image; they simply prefer themselves without glasses.
But, wearing contact lenses increases the likelihood of eye infection as you are putting a foreign body into your eye. If your fingers and lenses are sterile the chance of infection is small, but bad hygiene and flouting of safety procedures is not good news for your eyes.
To ensure your eyes stay infection free, bright and healthy follow these simple instructions.
Cleanliness and good hygiene are particularly essential for reusable lenses worn daily but replaced monthly. After taking out contact lenses you should thoroughly disinfect them. For most people this is achieved in a little storage case filled with saline solution and left over night. The solution cleans your lenses and gets rid of any bacteria that could be lurking about.
Never re-use or top up disinfection solution because the bacteria may be trapped in the solution and this can lead to infection the subsequent time you insert the lenses in your eyes.
Always wash, with soap, and dry your hands thoroughly before and after your put your contacts in and take them out.
Never leave your contact lenses in for longer than recommended by your optometrist.
It’s also a good idea to clean the contact lens case; leave it to dry in the open air every day and replace it each month.
Disposable and extended wear contact lenses
Extended wear lenses may be worn continuously, even when you’re sleeping, for as much as one month. Daily lenses are worn for a day then thrown away. Both systems don’t need disinfecting mixtures. However, you should still make sure your hands are clean and dry when you put in and take out your lenses.
Try and take at least one day off a week and wear your glasses instead of contact lenses. You should frequently have your eyes checked over by an optometrist; they will check for infections and monitor your general eye health. If you do see any signs of infection, like redness, gooiness and/or white spots on your eyes you should speak to an optometrist as soon as possible.
Dan Burdock is a qualified optometrist and freelance writer. He recommends Vision Direct for contact lenses.