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Don’t make these mistakes when using contact lenses

December 18, 2011

What do you use to wet your contact lenses? Most people use lubricant eye drops recommended by their eye care practitioner.

Can you believe that some use baby oil, beer or Coca Cola to wet their lenses? Yes, this was shown in a recent study by Bausch & Lomb that 20% of contact lens wearers use wetting agents such as saliva and tap water. Some even use petroleum jelly, lemonade, fruit juice and butter.

Mild cornea infection from contact lens wear (arrow pointing to white infected area)

How should we take care of our contact lenses? You probably have heard it all from your contact lens practitioner. Well, in case you haven’t heard the advice or can’t remember, here it is:

1. What are the common mistakes that we make with regards to eye care and contact lens care?

Not following the advice of your contact lens practitioner, most commonly, over wearing the lenses (too many hours a day, wearing a 1 month lens for 2 months, wearing a daily lens for 2 to 3 days)

Not washing the hands before inserting the lens.

Sharing of contact lens solutions and cases for lenses with others.

Cleaning the lens with other solutions not were not recommended by the contact lens practitioner, some even use their saliva to clean the lens.

Sleeping with the lens on.

 2. What’s the average time a person should wear his/her contact lenses for in a day?

This depends on the type of lens the person buys. Your contact lens care practitioner will inform you of the recommended number of hours of wear per day for the lens that you are using.

3. If a person wore his/her weekly or monthly lenses longer than she should, what repercussions could there be?

The most common problem is dry eyes.

If the dry eye is severe, the eye will be red, uncomfortable and the vision will be affected.

If there are small breaks (microabrasions) on the cornea surface due to the dry eyes, bacteria can get into these small breaks and cause the cornea to get infected.

4. How common is eye infection from contact lens wear? What eye infections are related to lack of contact lens care?

Eye infection from contact lens wear made up 25.6% of all contact lens problems presented to the doctor in Singapore. (abstract of research study)

Cornea Ulcer, which is, an infection of the cornea. This may be be due to bacteria, fungus or parasite (eg Acanthamoeba).

5. If makeup, soap or foreign solutions got onto contact lenses, is washing with multipurpose solution enough? Should a new pair be worn instead?

This depends on the type of lens the person buys. Your contact lens care practitioner will inform you of the recommended way to care for the particular lens that you are using and the correct solutions to clean your lenses with.

For continued safe and comfortable wearing of your lenses, it is important that you follow the care regimen recommended by your eye care practitioner. Cleaning and rinsing are necessary to remove mucus, secretions, films or deposits which may have accumulated during wearing. The ideal time to clean your lenses is immediately after removing them. Disinfecting is necessary to destroy harmful germs.

You should adhere to a recommended care regimen. Failure to follow the regimen may result in development of serious problems.

It is always good to use a new pair of contact lenses if you think the current pair is contaminated.

So was I right that you already know the advice? That’s what the Bausch & Lomb study showed…. that most know the advice, they just don’t follow the advice. 🙂

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