Wearing and caring for your contact lenses properly, under the guidance of an eyecare practitioner, is the key to healthy vision and comfort, writes Nicky Collinson
Whether you wear dailies just for the gym or specially designed monthlies for up to 30 days and nights, today’s contact lenses are more high-tech than ever. The £4-billion global contact lens industry is continually developing new technology to create contact lens products that provide healthier and better vision.
With the newest generation of contact lenses, called silicone hydrogels, the eye receives almost as much oxygen as wearing no lens at all. Modern, rigid gas-permeable lenses can provide significantly better vision and deposit-resistance than old-style hard lenses.
And there are now even orthokeratology lenses that can reshape your cornea overnight to give great vision without lenses.
Current contact lens solutions contain special detergents to remove surface contaminants and gentle disinfectants to reduce bacteria, and many are preservative-free, minimising the risk of sensitivity.
Yet if you are not caring for, handling and wearing your lenses as advised by the manufacturer and eyecare professionals, then all the technology in the world may not prevent complications from arising – from discomfort or inflammation to, at worst, sight-threatening eye infection.
Contact lenses can be a safe and fantastic way to correct vision, if they are used correctly
Research undertaken last summer by manufacturer Bausch + Lomb revealed that UK consumers were guilty of using “unconventional solutions” when cleaning, disinfecting and storing their contact lenses. Baby oil, beer, Coke, petroleum jelly, fruit juice and butter were among the most damaging alternatives to contact lens solution that respondents confessed to using. More than 90 per cent also admitted to regularly wearing their lenses for longer than recommended.
Dorset-based contact lens optician and British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) council member Keith Tempany says: “Contact lenses can be a safe and fantastic way to correct vision, if they are used correctly, with so many advantages over spectacles. Any misuse, however, can lead to serious complications – even permanently reduced vision.”
Follow the BCLA’s advice:
- Have regular check-ups as advised by your practitioner as there could be problems you are unaware of
- Wash and dry your hands prior to handling your lenses
- Rub, rinse and store your lenses in the recommended solution before and after each use
- Replace your lens case at least monthly
- Remove your lenses before your make-up
- Stick strictly to the recommended wearing schedule and replacement frequency.
- Use tap water, or any other water, on your lenses or lens case
- Wet your lenses with saliva
- Continue to wear your lenses if your eyes don’t feel good, look good or see well
- Switch the solution you use, except on the advice of your practitioner.