More than 3 million people in the UK wear contact lenses – approximately 13% of the total population. Women are more likely to wear contact lenses than men, with 16% of women wearing them compared to 11% of men. Younger people are also more likely to wear contact lenses, with between 18% and 21% of 16 to 49 year olds wearing them, compared to 2% to 9% of the over 50s.
There are two man types of contact lenses; rigid gas permeable or soft – instructions for both will vary accordingly – so it is vital you follow your optometrist’s advice. Being careless with your contact lenses can lead to serious infections in your eyes – in some cases, misuse of contact lenses has led to parasites, bacterial and fungal infections, herpes and temporary or permanent blindness.
For all types of contact lenses, you should always:
• Wash, rinse and dry your hands thoroughly before you handle your lenses
• Have an up-to-date pair of glasses you can wear for when you remove your lenses
• Keep hold of the contact lenses packet with the batch number on it in case you suffer a bad reaction or side effects
• Only use your lenses for the time recommended
• Attend regular check-ups with your optometrist
• Seek the advice of your optometrist if you are experiencing problems with your lenses
• Never put a torn or damaged lens in your eye
• Never share your lenses with others and never wear other peoples’
• Never rinse your lenses or store them in tap water
• Never transfer lens solution into smaller bottles or other containers – as you are risking it not being sterile anymore
• Never lick or wet your lenses with saliva
• Never wear contact lenses while swimming or showering, unless you wear water-tight goggles.
For disposable contact lenses, it is vital that you never reuse them – as they are unsuitable for repeated usage. If you wear daily disposable lenses, it is still important to attend regular check-ups with your optometrist.
When wearing your contact lenses; ask yourself the following questions:
• Can I see well?
• Do my eyes look good?
• Do my eyes feel good?