Contact Lens Hygiene Advice
Cleaning Your Lenses
This should performed before you insert the lenses or after you remove them, either way you should be cleaning your lenses every time you wear them.
With some RGP and hard lens forms the solutions typically come with a two step solution regimen, one solution cleans and scrubs debris from the lenses whereas the other sterilises them. Be sure to rinse all of the cleaner off the lenses before you insert them.
Most soft lens solutions only require a one-step solution. These come in two different varieties, hydrogen Peroxide based solutions with a neutralising agent and the other is chemically based. The Peroxide treatment is excellent for those people with allergic responses to some chemicals; however, you MUST make sure that you read the instructions on the packaging and leave the solution long enough to neutralise before using your lenses. They typically require a six hour sterilisation and neutralisation cycle. With chemical disinfection there are lots of different brands on the market and most of them claim to be a “no rub” formula. This has been shown to be an over-exaggerated claim, therefore, we would urge everybody to rub and rinse their lenses when cleaning them.
Risks to contact lens wear
Good hygiene is essential for contact lenses wearers and following the correct guidelines for contact lens care will prevent infection and damage to the eye. However, there is still a small increase in the risk of eye infection just by wearing a contact lens. The majority of these complications are relatively minor such as conjunctivitis and can be managed easily by your contact lens practitioner.
Keratitis, however, is an ever-present risk particularly with poor hygiene, particularly when related to poor lens case hygiene. Most corneal infection is treatable with swift intervention and good management. Acanthamoeba is a devastating ocular infection that is thankfully very rare, it occurs in roughly 1 in every 30,000 contact lens wearers and 85% of cases are linked to contact lens use. The best way to avoid the risk of Acanthamoeba keratitis is to keep your lenses away from any non-sterile fluid such as tap water and swimming pool water as this is wear Acanthamoeba lives in large quantities The following advice has been formulated as best practice for ALL contact lens wearers.
Always wash rinse and dry your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap and clean water before touching your eyes or your contact lenses. Fingernails should be short and smooth to avoid damaging the lenses or scratching your eye.
Do’s and Don’ts
● NEVER use tap water to rinse your lenses.
● NEVER lick your lenses to clean them.
● NEVER swim or shower whilst wearing lenses.
● NEVER sleep in your lenses unless advised you can do so.
● NEVER over-wear your lenses.
● ALWAYS change your contact lens case regularly, every month is recommended.
● ALWAYS wash your hands before use.
● ALWAYS change your lenses at the recommended intervals.
● ALWAYS clean your lenses every morning/evening.
● ALWAYS keep your lenses in the recommended solution when not wearing them.
● ALWAYS attend your regular aftercare appointments.
With regard to eye health it is always recommended to attend an appropriate practitioner for your continued contact lens aftercare. Some complications are “silent” meaning you will not necessarily know that your lenses are causing your eye harm and fitting poorly. In case of emergency, redness of the eyeball, pain reduced vision, or discharge you should cease lens wear contact your lens practitioner. Following professional advice properly will greatly minimise the risks of contact lens wear and as long as you follow some simple common sense rules then it is very likely you will never have a contact lens related problem.
Ask yourself periodically:
Do my eyes look good?
Do my eyes feel good?
Do I see well?
If you cannot answer ‘yes’ to all of these, or you have any other doubts concerning your contact lenses, remove your lenses immediately and seek the advice of your contact lens practitioner.
•Go to bed with a painful red eye - seek advice immediately.
•Bring any contact lens in contact with tap water.
•Wet your lenses with saliva.
•Wear your lenses for swimming (unless you use goggles) or showering.