Looking After Your Lenses and Your Eyes
All contact lens wearers should have regular (annual or two yearly) eye examinations and contact lens check-ups. After initial fitting, contact lens check-ups will be carried out at one month, three months and/or six months.
Contact lens check-ups (aftercare) are very important to ensure the continued health of your eyes, to ensure that your contact lenses are fitting properly and to ensure that you are wearing the best type of contact lens to maximise your vision and comfort.
Daily disposable lenses
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.
Frequent Replacement lenses
Frequent replacement lenses are designed to be replaced regularly so that they never get covered in surface deposits that may cause allergy or encourage infection. Acuvue (Johnson & Johnson) lenses such as Oasys are normally replaced twice monthly while many other manufacturers replace lenses every month. Frequent replacement lenses require cleaning and disinfection evey time they are worn.
Extended wear lenses
Extended wear lenses are designed for overnight wear and can be continuously worn for up to a week or a month at a time before being discarded. Extended lens wearers need more regular check ups than other wearers due to the increased risk of infection and other potential hazards.
Keep Your Lenses Clean
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 new highly permeable silicone hydrogel lenses may carry a lower risk than traditional extended wear lenses. Rigid gas permeable lenses have an extremely low incidence of infection. Many eye infections can be sourced to the lens case used and poor looking after your contact lenses. Disposable contact lenses must be thrown away after the period advised to prevent eye infection and allergies to the "build-up" on the lens surfaces. Lens cases must be replaced regularly (often every month) and lens cleaning/disinfection regimes followed properly.
For lenses that are re-used, rather than worn once and discarded, the following guidance applies: After removing your contact lenses make sure you disinfect them. This prevents harmful organisms building up on the lens. At your contact lens consultation we 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 or 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. Rinse your 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. Always wash your hands thoroughly and use a lint-free cloth to dry them. Remove a lens and place it in the palm of you hand.Add a small amount of all-in-one solution and gently rub the lens in a circularmotion for a few seconds to remove any deposits. Rinse the lens, place in a clean case and add some all-in-one solution. Replace the lid and the lenses will be ready for the next time you wear them.
Useful tips for contact lens care
The following tips apply to all contact lens types: Always:
- wash, rinse and dry your hands thoroughly before handling your lenses
- have an up-to-date pair of glasses 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 contactlenses, remove your lenses immediately and seek the advice of your contact lens practitioner.Never:
- go to bed with a painful red eye – seek advice immediately
- bring any contact lens into contact with tap water
- wet your lenses with saliva
- wear your lenses for swimming (unless you use goggles) or showering.
Please ask your local Mackey Opticians for advice on any aspect of looking after your lenses or contact us immediately if you have any problems.