contact lens hygiene
We have heard many stories in the media recently regarding people losing their vision due to over wear of contact lenses and poor contact lens compliance. Inappropriate care of contact lenses leads to infection which can lead to blindness.
Appropriate care of your contact lenses, storage cases and hygiene are all essential to keep your eyes healthy. At Eyedeology our eye doctors fit and examine the contact lenses on the eye and make sure the prescription and the size is ideal for each patient. We then train patients on how to insert and remove contact lenses while explaining how important hygiene is and make our patients understand the do’s and don’ts of contact lenses. Below are some common mistakes made by contact lens wearers. There are also tips and suggestions to help you avoid any corneal infections or risk factors that can endanger the eyes or impact your vision.
1. Wearing contact lenses for too long: Always replace your contact lenses on your recommended replacement schedule. If you are prescribed bi- weekly (2-weekly) or monthly contact lenses, it is important to replace them within the right time frame. The front surface of the eye (cornea) needs oxygen to keep the eyes healthy. Over wearing contact lenses allows microorganisms such as bacteria, parasites, and fungus into the cornea which increases risks of infection. Sleeping or snoozing with contacts that are not designed to be slept with can also increase risks of infections and corneal ulcers.
2. Improper care with contact lenses and storage cases: Cleaning and disinfecting the contact lens are not the only thing that a contact lens wearer should be concerned with. Disinfecting the the storage case is just as important. Harmful microorganisms can grow and live in the case if left unsterile. It is important to rub and clean your storage case with a sterile solution recommended by your eye doctor. Afterwards, dry it with a lint free towel and leave it to be air dried. It is recommended to replace contact lens cases every 3 months.
3. Avoid water with contact lenses: Wash and dry hands before use of contact lenses. Water can harbour harmful micro- organisms that can be transferred on the contact lens. Contact lens wearers should remove contact lenses before getting into a swimming pool or sea, soaking in a bath tub or even if you attempt to wash the eye. Infectious microorganisms are found in water, these organisms can invade the cornea and cause serious eye infections which may lead to serious consequences such as permanent blindness.
Microbial keratitis is an infection of the eyes front surface which is caused by bacteria, fungi, amoeba or viruses. The biggest risk factor for microbial keratitis is caused by these common mistakes discussed.
This infection can cause pain, redness, decrease in vision and if severe can lead to blindness. Earlier this year it was reported a woman in Taiwan left her contact lenses in her eyes for 6 months, she developed an eye infection which caused her to lose her sight.
Proper care of your contact lenses, storage cases and eyes is essential to keep your eyes healthy.
-Never buy contact lenses without having an exam and proper fitting first.
– always protect your eyes from the sun with 100% UV factor sunglasses, even though there are some contact lenses that UV protection in the lens, sunglasses are still essential.
– never swap contact lenses with another person. Contact lenses are individually fitted. Incorrectly fitted contact lenses may cause permanent eye injury, infection and may potentially lead to blindness.
A few extra tips that will ensure comfort and safe use of contact lenses.
– if you wear make- up, apply cosmetics after inserting your lenses and remove your lenses before removing make- up. This reduces the chance a if bacteria and other particles from your make-up from being transferred to your lenses and your eyes.
– aerosol products like hairspray, cologne, and deodorant should be used before inserting contact lenses.
We at Eyedeology encourage annual exams to ensure healthy eyes. The health of your eyes can change, during the span of one year. We always recommend a back up pair of glasses with a current prescription. If you ever have problems with contact lenses or are ill then those back up glasses do come in handy. Importance of replacing your contact lenses as recommended by your eye doctor. Throw away disposable lenses after recommended wearing period. Also let your doctor know if you are using any medicated eye drops or have purchased drops without a prescription. Lastly we must mention another reason to quit smoking! Studies show that smokers who wear contact lenses have a higher rate if adverse reactions than non- smokers.
So if you are unsure about your contact lens care routines, solutions, proper storage cases or any optical products safe to use with contact lenses then feel free to contact us at Eyedeology.
Dr. Farrah Sunderji, OD