Ophthalmology Wellbeing & Fitness

5 Top Tips for Contact Lens Safety

Written by Mr Hemal Mehta for Doctify

Over 3 million people in the UK wear contact lenses. Statistically, some of you reading this will be wearing them right now. Hi! This article is for you.

Contact lens safety is important for avoiding infections and general eye health. Here to educate us is Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon Mr Hemal Mehta.

The following tips should help you to wear contact lenses safely. They can also reduce the risk of a sight-threatening corneal infection:

Avoid wearing your contact lenses in the shower or when swimming

Tap water contains a bug called acanthamoeba. Contact lenses contaminated with this bug can cause a difficult to treat corneal infection. In particularly severe acanthamoeba infections corneal transplantation may be required.

Try not to wear contact lenses overnight

Although many contact lenses are marketed for extended wear, there are many studies that report higher rates of corneal infection in those individuals who wear contact lenses overnight. Even during the day, the longer you wear a contact lens the greater the risk of infection.

Change your lens cases at the recommended time

Bacteria and fungi can accumulate in lens cases over time. Therefore change them at the recommended interval. Better still, try and opt for a daily disposable contact lens so there is no need to worry about contact lens case hygiene.

Over the counter antibiotic drops aren’t that effective for contact lens-related eye infections

The initial management of a contact lens related infection involves intensive antibiotic drops to the affected eye. Over the counter antibiotic drops like chloramphenicol have poor coverage for a species of bacteria called pseudomonas, the most common cause of contact lens related corneal infections. Specific antibiotics that target organisms like pseudomonas are available on prescription from your eye doctor.

If you develop contact lens related problems go and see an ophthalmologist immediately

If your eye feels irritated, appears red, produces discharge or the vision becomes blurred when wearing contact lenses you should seek an urgent opinion from an eye specialist. Contact lens related corneal infections can progress quickly from small lesions that respond to treatment without any long-term scarring to more severe corneal ulcers that can be vision threatening. If you suspect an infection take out the offending lens. Try and bring it as well as the case, if applicable, to your eye doctor. This will allow the offending bug causing the corneal infection to be identified and the most effective antibiotic therapy chosen.



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