Contact lenses and how to avoid infections?
Millions of people wear contact lenses, but many don’t follow the instructions on safe use.
Wearing contact lenses increases the risk of eye infections. Failing to follow the instructions raises that risk considerably.
The two main types of contact lens are rigid gas-permeable or soft. Instructions for using and caring for your lenses will vary accordingly. It’s vital to follow your Eye Doctor’s instructions.
If you’re using contact lenses for the first time, make sure that they’re prescribed by an Eye Doctor.
Reusable contact lenses
For lenses that are re-used, rather than worn once and discarded, the following guidance applies.
After removing your contact lenses it’s essential that you disinfect them as this prevents microbes building up on the lens. Your Eye Doctor will advise you on the best contact lenses for you and how to care for them.
To disinfect your lenses, soak them in solution in a storage case for a specific amount of time.
Never re-use disinfecting solution or top it up. It must be discarded and replaced with fresh solution each time the lenses are stored.
Only use the care products recommended by your practitioner, and follow the instructions carefully.
Dirty contact lens cases are a major source of infection, sometimes very serious.
To avoid infections:
Rinse your storage case, leave it open to dry after use each day, and replace it monthly.
Clean the storage case each week, using a clean toothbrush and contact lens solution.
Daily disposable lenses do not need cleaning or disinfecting because they are only worn once and then thrown away. Don’t re-use these lenses as they’re unsuitable for repeated use. Even if you wear daily disposables, it’s still important to have regular check-ups with your Eye Doctor, at least once every six months.
Extended-wear lenses are specially designed for wearing overnight, and can be worn continuously for up to a month before being discarded. Don’t sleep while wearing lenses unless your Eye Doctor allows you to do so. Your Eye Doctor will also advise you on how to look after the lenses if you need to remove them temporarily. You may need more frequent check-ups if you wear this type of lens.
All types of contact lens
You should always:
wash, rinse and dry your hands thoroughly before handling your lenses.
have an up-to-date pair of spectacles to wear when you need to remove your lenses.
replace the lenses at intervals specified by your practitioner.
have regular check-ups with your Eye Doctor.
seek professional advice if you’re having problems with your contact lenses.
Ask yourself these three important questions when wearing your lenses:
– Do my eyes look good?
– Do my eyes feel good?
– Can I see well?
If you can’t answer ‘yes’ to all of these, or you have any other doubts about your contact lenses, remove them immediately and talk to your Eye Doctor.
never go to bed with a painful red eye – seek advice immediately.
never bring your lenses into contact with tap water.
never wet your lenses with saliva.
never wear your lenses while you’re having a shower or going swimming (unless you use goggles).
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