Contact lenses have certainly revolutionised the way millions see the world, offering convenience and vision correction without the need for traditional eyeglasses. However, a common concern that often circulates is whether contact lenses increase the risk of eye infections. Read on as we take a deeper look into this topic, dispel some common misconceptions, and explore the real factors that contribute to eye health in contact lens wearers.
Understanding the Concerns
· Moist Environment - Contact lenses create a moist environment on the eye's surface, and some believe this could be a breeding ground for bacteria and microorganisms.
· Extended Wear - Extended or overnight wear of contact lenses may contribute to a higher risk as the lenses are in constant contact with the eyes.
· Hygiene Practices - Poor hygiene practices, such as improper cleaning of lenses or using contaminated solutions, can increase the likelihood of infections.
The Reality Check
1. Proper Hygiene Mitigates Risk
The primary factor influencing the risk of eye infections is the wearer's hygiene habits. Adhering to proper lens care practices as advised by your optometrist, including regular cleaning, disinfection, and replacing lenses as recommended, significantly reduces the risk.
2. Daily Disposables and Hygiene
Daily disposable lenses, designed for single use, are associated with a lower risk of infection compared to lenses worn for extended periods. Using fresh lenses each day eliminates the need for cleaning solutions, reducing the chances of contamination.
3. Overnight Wear
Extended or overnight wear can increase the risk of infection. Oxygen deprivation during extended wear can compromise the cornea's health. Strictly following the recommended wearing schedules advised by your optomterist, including removing lenses before sleep, is crucial for maintaining good eye health.
4. Regular Check-ups
Routine eye exams are essential for contact lens wearers. Your prescription may not change, however your optometrist can detect early signs of potential issues and provide guidance on proper lens use and care.
5. Allergy and Environmental Factors
Individuals prone to allergies or those in environments with high levels of dust or pollutants may have a higher risk. Managing environmental factors and addressing allergies with your optometrist can help to mitigate this risk.
6. Lifestyle and Activity Level
Active individuals, especially swimmers, face unique challenges. Properly fitted swimming goggles and avoiding contact lens wear while swimming can reduce exposure to waterborne contaminants.
Tips for Safe Contact Lens Use
· Hand Hygiene - Wash hands thoroughly before handling contact lenses. Use soap and water, and ensure hands are completely dry.
· Proper Cleaning - Follow the recommended cleaning and disinfection routine for your specific type of contact lenses. Use fresh disinfecting solution each time.
· Lens Replacement - Adhere to the recommended replacement schedule for your lenses. Whether daily, bi-weekly, or monthly, replacing lenses as directed is crucial.
· Avoid Extended Wear - If possible, avoid extended or overnight wear of contact lenses. Give your eyes a break and allow them to breathe.
· Regular Check-ups - Schedule routine eye exams to monitor eye health and discuss any concerns with your eye care professional.
Contact lenses, when used correctly and in line with recommendations, provide a safe and effective means of vision correction. The key lies in education, awareness, and individual responsibility. By incorporating good hygiene habits and following eye care guidelines, contact lens wearers can enjoy clear vision without compromising their eye health. Remember, seeing the world through contact lenses can be a clear and comfortable experience when approached with care and responsibility.
Book an appointment with Abernethy Owens, the optometrist Perth families trust for expert eye care. If it’s been a while since your last visit to an optometrist, eye testing should be a priority. Book online or call 1800 411 744.