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The Dangers of Poor Lens Hygiene

Contact lenses are a great way to correct vision, but they do come with responsibilities - one of the main ones is ensuring you change them regularly. In this blog post, I look at the importance of hygiene to keep your lenses and eyes clean and healthy.

Without wanting to sound like another dull lecture on washing your hands and not over-wearing contact lenses, as an ophthalmologist this is a topic very close to my heart. It’s a warning really, after seeing lots of TikTok and YouTube videos recently, where people have found numerous lenses under their eyelids.

I have noticed a worrying increase in these social media posts since an article went viral around the globe a few years ago after I discovered 27 contact lenses (yes, 27!) under a lady’s superior fornix (lid), just before I was due to operate on her cataracts.

While this was a very rare find indeed it's true that occasionally, depending on bone structure and anatomy, some people may be more pre-disposed for contact lenses to slip under their eyelids. This can due to “floppy eyelids”, a “deep set eye” or a large orbital cavity.

It may not be an everyday occurrence, but I do think it’s certainly worth refreshing why you need to ensure you are using them correctly.

Avoiding Eye Infections

Bacterial Infections: Contact lens can be a breeding ground for bacteria, especially if they are not cleaned and replaced regularly. This can lead to conjunctivitis or keratitis, and symptoms include redness, swelling, sensitivity to light and blurred vision.

Corneal Ulcers: These are open sores that develop on the surface of the eye. Wearing contact lenses for an extended period of time can increase the risk by creating small abrasions that allow bacteria to enter.

Reduced Oxygen Supply: Lenses can reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches the cornea, which can lead to a condition known as hypoxia. Hypoxia can cause a range of problems including blurred vision, discomfort and corneal swelling.

Dry eyes: Because your contact lenses can absorb moisture from your eyes, they may leave them feeling dry and irritated.

Prolonging Lens Life

Keeping your lenses clean and disinfected can prevent the build-up of deposits so it's essential to follow the recommended wear time and care instructions:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before handling your contact lenses and clean them with a recommended solution every time you remove them.

  • Store them in a clean, dry and well-ventilated case which should be replaced every three months.

  • Do not wear your lenses for more than the recommended time, remove them before sleeping (unless advised to) and avoid wearing them in the shower or swimming pool.

  • Do not share your lenses with anyone.

  • And visit your ophthalmologist regularly to maintain the health of your eyes and spot any issues early. You can find out more about our team of specialists here.

The above information is intended for those who wear monthly or extended-wear lenses. Because daily disposables are thrown away there is a lower risk of infection.


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