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Watch out when it comes to contact lens hygiene

Post on 4th October 2017

Contact lenses have given a new outlook on life to millions of people who enjoy the freedom and ease of use they offer.

It is clear to see why improved vision without the need for spectacles is so attractive, but we also need to focus on the rules of their use, especially when it comes to hygiene. Any complacency on this score can lead to infections and sore eyes.

There is a small increased risk of developing eye infections if you wear any type of contact lens because you are putting something into your eye. So it makes sense to thoroughly wash and dry your hands before touching your eyes or contact lenses to minimise such risk.

The lenses too must be cleaned carefully and disinfected every day. If you prefer daily disposable lenses these should never be re-used. It may sound obvious, but never share or swap contact lenses with anyone else either.

It is important to follow the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning, disinfecting and wearing the lenses. Never use tap water to clean lenses as this could lead to serious problems, including corneal ulcers and eye infections.

After you have taken a lens out, place it in the palm of your hand and add a few drops of your multi-purpose solution. Rub both sides of the lens and then rinse off with a vigorous squirt of solution.

Next, place the lenses in their storage case and cover them with fresh storage solution. Throw the solution away when you next use the lenses and leave the case to air dry. The case also needs to be cleaned every week with storage solution.

If you wear make-up, apply it after you have put your contact lenses in and remove it after removing the contact lenses. If you use hand cream, apply it after you have finished handling your lenses.

To keep your eyes healthy, replace the lenses as often as you are advised by your optometrist or optician. This could be every day, every week, every fortnight or every month.

If you are not seeing as clearly, your eyes are red or feel tired or the lenses feel uncomfortable, remove the lenses. Seek advice from your optometrist or optician if you have any concerns and keep up to date with any after-care checks or eye appointments.

Good lens wear and care is essential to prevent avoidable eye problems. Following the rules will help you to make the most of your contact lenses, which remain a great alternative to wearing glasses.

In short, our top tips are –

– Wash and dry your hands before using contact lenses
– Follow instructions for cleaning and wearing the lenses
– Don’t use tap water for cleaning contact lenses or storage cases
– Replace lenses when advised
– If in doubt take the lenses out
– Attend regular after-care appointments
– If you have never tried contact lenses but feel the benefits would enhance your lifestyle, please call into your local Scrivens branch for help and advice on eye care.