MORE ABOUT CONTACT LENSES
There are basically two types of contact lens available: rigid gas-permeable and soft. However, there are many different lens materials and designs. Lenses maybe used on a daily wear basis, and either discarded each day (daily disposable) or disinfected and re used, or an extended wear basis where they are kept in overnight. Your contact lens practitioner will advise you on the most suitable lens type, wearing schedule, replacement frequency and care regime for your needs. Never switch the type of lens or solution you use except on the advice of you practitioner.
Remember that contact lenses can only be fitted by or prescribed by a registered optometrist, qualified dispensing optician or medical practitioner.
A contact lens prescription is only valid for 12 months. Regular aftercare checkups, at intervals specified by your practitioner, are essential to ensure that your eyes remain healthy and that you are using the best lenses for your particular needs. Contact lenses are constantly improving so even if you have been unsuccessful in the past it is worth trying again. Nowadays almost all those who need vision correction and want to wear contact lenses can do so.
Safe Contact Lens Wear
For most people, contact lens wear is safe and completely trouble free. However, research studies have shown a slightly increased risk of eye infection associated with contact lens wear when compared with no lens wear. Sleeping with your lenses in carries a higher risk than taking them out each night, although the new, highly permeable silicone hydrogel lenses may carry a lower risk than traditional extended wear lenses. Rigid gas Permeable lenses and daily disposable have an extremely low incidence of infection.
Other important risk factors highlighted by research include the following:
Poor patient compliance - wearers not caring properly for their lenses.
Dirty storage cases - Wearers not cleaning their storage case regularly.
Contacts lens care
For lenses that are re-used, rather than worn once and discarded, the following guidance applies:
After removing your contact lenses it is essential that you disinfect them. This prevents harmful organisms building up on the lens. Your contact lens practitioner will advise you of the best contact lens system and care regime for your type of lenses. This may include additional cleaning procedures, such as rubbing o rinsing. Disinfection involves soaking your lenses in solution in a storage case for a specific period of time. Never re-use disinfecting solution or top 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 as specific lenses materials require special cleaning solution and they should not be mixed.
Rinse you storage case, leave it open to dry after use each day, and replace monthly. A dirty case is a major source of infection. Clean the storage case using a clean toothbrush and contact lens solution on a weekly basis.
With daily disposable lenses, no cleaning and disinfection is required after wear since the lenses are worn only once and thrown away. Do not re-use these lenses since disinfecting solution will not be available and they are unsuitable for repeated use. Wearing daily disposables does not decrease the importance of regular check-ups if you wear this type of lens.
Useful tips for contact lens care
The following tips apply to all contact lens types:
Wash, rinse and dry your hands thoroughly before handling your lenses.
Have an up-to-date pair of spectacles for when you need to remove your lenses.
Replace the lenses at the interval specified by your practitioner.
Have regular check-ups with your practitioner as recommended
Seek professional advice if you are having problems with your contact lenses.
Ask yourself these three important questions each day that you wear your lenses:
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 you lenses with saliva
Wear your lenses for swimming (unless using goggles) or showering.