According to eye health experts at Feel Good Contacts, (UK’s leading contact lens retailer), It’s important to maintain lens hygiene to avoid serious eye infections and keep your eyes healthy.
The chances of getting an eye infection when wearing contact lenses are incredibly low if you care for them effectively. Maintaining lens hygiene is a straightforward process as long as you follow some simple steps and avoid taking risky shortcuts.
There are different types of contact lenses which require different replacement schedules as well as different care systems. Your optician will recommend a contact lens that’s best for your eyes, lifestyle and prescription. This can either be a daily replacement lens or one designed for frequent replacement such as monthly contact lenses or 2 weeklies. If you wear the latter, it is crucial to maintain them.
How do you maintain contact lenses?
Maintaining your replacement lenses or yearly contact lenses involves cleaning them everyday and storing them in fresh solution overnight. This will ensure they are clean for greater comfort as well as minimise the risk of infection.
You should stick to the wearing schedule which will be fully stated on the packaging. For example, if you wear dailies, these need to be thrown away at the end of each day. There are some lenses which are made of silicone hydrogel and are designed for long wear times such as Dailies Total 1. However, your optician will advise you on how many hours you can wear your lenses for and you should follow the wearing schedule given to you by your optician after an aftercare.
Monthly and two weekly lenses should be worn for their respective wearing cycles and removed at the end of each day before cleaning, disinfecting and storing in contact lens solution (recommended by your optician) overnight.
Extended wear contact lenses can be slept in if approved by your optician. These lenses also need to be cleaned and your optician will advise you on how often to clean them and which solution to use.
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How do you clean your contact lens?
You can maintain your contact lenses by following these simple steps below:
- Before handling your contact lenses or touching your eyes, make sure to wash and dry your hands thoroughly with a lint-free towel.
- Remove your lenses one at a time and place each separately in the palm of your hand. Cover the lens in fresh contact lens solution and gently rub the lens with your finger to loosen any build-up of dirt or debris.
- If using peroxide solution, there is no need to rub your lenses. Simply insert the lens into the lens case with the catalytic disc or insert a neutralising tablet.
- Rinse your lenses with either a saline solution (saline not a cleaner) or a multipurpose solution to remove any remaining debris.
- Take a clean contact lens case and fill it with disinfecting solution or multipurpose solution and place your lenses in the case to disinfect them. To disinfect your lenses effectively, they should be left in the solution for as long as recommended on the solution pack.
- Repeat the steps above with the other contact lens.
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What should a contact lens wearer use for cleaning their hands while using contact lenses?
As a contact lens wearer, you should use a mild soap and clean water for cleaning your hands before you handle your contact lenses.
Lens case care
Lens case care is incredibly important in maintaining lens hygiene. A contact lens case can grow bacteria if not cleaned properly after every use and this can put both your contact lenses and eyes at risk of infections and irritation. The following steps will ensure an effective clean of your contact lens case:
- Make sure to empty out any remaining contact lens solution from the case.
- Use a lint-free towel, scrub the inside of the case, making sure to go over each section including the lid.
- Use fresh multi-purpose solution to rinse out the case and the lid, avoid using water at all costs as it can contain contaminants that can damage your lenses and cause eye infections.
- Allow your contact lens case to air dry naturally by placing face down on a clean tissue.
How long can you use a contact lens case for?
You should replace your contact lens case every three months in order to minimise the risk of infection and microbial biofilms.
Bacteria and microorganisms can produce biofilm, a substance which helps protect bacteria from the disinfectant in your contact lens solution. Biofilm is invisible which is why you should replace your contact lens case every 3 months or when you get a new case with your solution (most solutions have new cases in the box) no matter what.
Do you need to clean daily contacts?
Daily contact lenses do not need to be cleaned. They are designed to be disposed of at the end of each day, eliminating the need for a lens care routine. They are the most hygienic lens wear option as a new pair is inserted each day and therefore you don’t need to worry about build-up of protein and other irritants on your lenses.