Looking after your lenses and when it comes to general hygiene can often be overlooked by many and this blog is a reminder and will highlight some of the essential do’s & dont’s of contact lens wear.
Love your lenses was a campaign during march 2019 organised by the General Optical Council with involvement and support from industry partners, manufacturers and Opticians to get the message out to the public.
How To Love Your Lenses
Contact Lenses are enjoyed safely and loved by millions of people.
Most wearers won’t experience problems, however, if contact lenses are not treated with love and respect they need, there is a small risk of developing potentially serious problems.
If you love your eyes, love your lenses. Stick to the tips below to keep your eyes healthy.
1. Have regular check-ups as advised by your practitioner
2. Always wash your hands prior to handling your lenses.
3. Always rub, rinse and store your lenses in the recommended solution before and after each use (except single-use lenses, which should be discarded after each wear)
4. Always clean the lens case with solution, wipe with a clean tissue then air-dry after each use by placing the case and lids face down on tissue.
5. Always apply the same lens first to avoid mixing them up.
6. Check the lens is not inside out before applying.
7. Check the lens is not damaged before applying.
8. Handle carefully to avoid damaging the lens.
9. Apply your lenses before putting on make-up.
10. Remove lenses then remove make-up.
11. Keep your eyes closed when using hairspray or other aerosols.
12. Replace your lens case at least monthly.
13. Discard lenses and solutions that are past their expiry date.
14. Wear only the lenses specified by your contact lens practitioner.
15. Stick strictly to the recommended wearing schedule and replacement frequency.
Make sure you have an adequate supply of replacement lenses or a spare pair.
16. Have an up-to-date pair of spectacles for when you need to remove your lenses.
1. Use tap water, or any other water, on your lenses or lens case.
2. Sleep in your lenses unless specifically advised to by your practitioner.
3. Use your lenses for swimming, hot tubs or water sports, unless wearing goggles
4. Share contact lenses or wear any lenses not specified by your practitioner
5. Wet your lenses with saliva
6. Put a lens on the eye if it falls on the floor or other surface, without cleaning and storing again
7. Re-use or top up solution – discard and replace with fresh solution each time lenses are stored
8. Decant solution into smaller containers
9. Wear lenses left in the case for more than seven days without cleaning and storing them in fresh solution
10. Wear any lens overnight if you are unwell
11. Wear your lenses when showering unless you keep your eyes firmly closed
12. Switch the solution you use, except on the advice of your practitioner
13. Use any eye drops without advice from your contact lens practitioner
14. Apply a lens if it is dirty, dusty or damaged
15. Continue to wear your lenses if your eyes don’t feel good, look good, or see well.
Ask yourself these three questions, each time you wear your lenses:
Do my eyes feel good all day long with my lenses in? — no discomfort
Do my eyes look good? — no redness
Do I see well? — no unusual blurring with either eye.
If the answer to any of these questions is no, leave your lenses off and consult your optician immediately, who will advise you on what to do next.
Contact Lens Hygiene
Did you know that young people (18-24 years) are four times less likely to wash their hands before touching their eyes than people aged over 65 years?
That’s according to research into the habits of over 2,000 contact lens wearers which showed that more than 1 in 4 contact lens wearers aged 18-24 don’t always wash their hands before handling their contact lenses, compared with 1 in 20 contact lens wearers aged 65+.
Research summarised in the General Optical Council’s Thumbs Up for Health Eyes report also highlighted thumbs as an area of hands often overlooked in handwashing. Ineffective hand-washing techniques can result in certain parts of our hands harbouring potentially harmful bacteria; touching or rubbing eyes with unclean hands can spread infections such as the common cold.
Contact lenses are safe and enjoyed by millions when looked after properly, so when you’re washing your hands remember the Rule of T.H.U.M.B mnemonic…
Thumbs – don’t forget them!
Happy Birthday – sing it twice while you wash your hands
Under the nails – need a good scrub
Massage soap into palms, backs of hands, fingers and thumbs
Both hands dry? Now you can touch your eye
The Thumbs Up for Healthy Eyes report has been produced by the General Optical Council in partnership with Moorfields Eye Hospital. It brings together findings from numerous academic studies into hand-washing and the potential impact of poor hygiene on contact lens wearers. The report is available to read here LYL Thumbs Up Report.