Are Contact Lenses Really Safe? | AccuVision
Contact lenses are a scientific miracle. Not having to wear glasses during sports, rainy weather, driving and so many other activities is a convenience that makes everyday life significantly easier.
Contact lenses can be a great practical alternative to glasses but some patients inevitably experience recurring infections, contact lens induced dye eye, allergy to contact materials and solutions etc.
Contact lens wear is safe, providing wearers carefully adhere to personal hygiene advice issued by their Optometrist or Contact Lens Practitioner. If handled incorrectly, there is always a chance that they can damage the eyes, sometimes with significant vision loss. This article will outline what to do to maintain maximum eye health when using contact lenses.
Hygiene Is Paramount
The general unawareness of hand hygiene translates into poor contact lens wear. Proper hand washing technique is the most important thing when it comes to avoiding infection.
From our clinical experience, these are the most crucial points for contact lens wearers to minimise infection risk and keep their eyes safe:
- Wash hands thoroughly before handling lenses — maintain impeccable hand hygiene.
- Clean out your lens case every day and replace with fresh contact lens solution — NEVER reuse old solution.
- Remove contact lenses before sleeping, especially overnight.
- Remove contact lenses before applying makeup, makeup remover, or cosmetics.
- Carefully and regularly clean your contact lenses as directed by your optometrist.
- Use only approved contact lens solution, and never tap water, home concoctions or saliva.
- Wear contact lenses only for the recommended amount of time per day.
- Regularly replace your lenses with a new pair, sticking to your planned replacement schedule.
- Remove contact lenses before showering, swimming, hot tubs, and saunas. *
*Water contact, in particular, is very dangerous and can put you at increased risk of developing sight-threatening corneal infections like acanthamoeba.
We have found that other sight-threatening disorders and diseases, like corneal ulcers, are also linked to poor contact lens handling practice. According to a study in the US, nearly a million clinical visits for contact lens-related keratitis occur annually.
AccuVision’s specialist contact lens fittings employ effective management strategies to lower these risks. Our experienced team formulate an action plan personalised to you based on your vocational demands, visual routines, lifestyle etc.
Microbial keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea caused by bacteria, fungi, amoeba, or viruses, and can result in partial or total associated loss of vision. Keratitis is also caused by mechanical trauma, such as injury from wearing contact lenses too long or fingernail scratches whilst handling contacts in the eye.
Poor storage case hygiene, improper disinfection, and overnight lens wear are established and preventable risk factors for microbial keratitis, contact lens-related inflammation and other eye complications. Good hand hygiene, however, is THE most important element.
Symptoms of Keratitis
If you experience any of the following symptoms of keratitis, remove your lenses immediately and do not put them back in, and contact us right away:
- Eye pain
- Excess tears or discharge
- Blurred or decreased vision
- Photophobia, or sensitivity to light
- Foreign body sensation in your eye
- Difficulty opening the eye because of pain or irritation
Contact Lens Acute Red Eye (CLARE) is keratitis that often comes on suddenly during sleep, causing intense pain, blurred vision and sensitivity to light. Following this you may feel like there is something in your eye.
Chronic allergy sufferers who are prone to itchy eyes or excess tears, experience increased contact lens irritation due to increased mechanical friction, which can lead to inflammation.
Wearing contact lenses for too long obstructs the oxygen supply to the eye, causing hypoxia. Mild cases typically result in blurred vision and swelling in the epithelial layer of the cornea. More severe corneal hypoxia can result in the death of epithelial cells and permanent vision loss
Digital device use exacerbates dry eye symptoms due to inadequate blinking when focused on digital media. This chronic lens wear issue makes contact lenses more prone to tearing and subsequent infection.
Sleeping with contact lenses in traps in pollutants from the day with your lenses. The combination of the closed lid’s protection, reduced movement of the eye and eyelid, and low oxygen create ideal conditions for bacteria to grow, outlined in Optometry and Vision Science. Another potential consequence is corneal neovascularisation, a sight-threatening condition characterised by an invasion of blood vessels into the cornea.
Laser Vision Correction – A Safer and More Lasting Alternative?
Laser eye surgery has been around for over four decades in one form or the other. Statistically, it is the most performed eye surgery out of all other eye surgeries.
Laser vision correction is one of the safest procedures, with a less than 1% chance of complication. To further reduce risk, you should seek vision correction surgery from reputed eye clinics that have the most up-to-date equipment and experienced ophthalmologists who have been successfully correcting vision for decades. The skill and experience of the surgeon operating the laser is key.
Laser Vision Correction at AccuVision
At AccuVision, more than two decades of experience enables our surgeons to use unique treatment modalities, unlike other high street clinics in the UK.
Our clinical experience and state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment equipment empower us to treat eyes that may have been refused treatment elsewhere due to extreme prescriptions or challenging eye conditions.
A recent patient at our London branch, named Gail, said her prescription was so strong that she had to read labels under the cooker hood light and photograph print to increase the size. After laser vision correction, she describes her AccuVision blended vision LASIK procedure as “the best thing I’ve ever done and wish I’d done it years ago”. Four months on and she is still “in awe of life without glasses”.
Irrespective of the thousands of patients we have treated, we take the trust reposed in us very seriously and are always mindful that it is an immense ask for someone to trust us with their most precious sense of sight.
Our consistent success rate of laser vision correction, year over year, of over 99%, is testament to this. And the fact that almost every single patient treated at AccuVision would refer their friends and family to us.
Whilst relaxing in the recovery room our patients often comment about how quick, uneventful and pain-free the less than 20-minute procedure was.
If you’re considering laser vision correction and you’re curious to know what AccuVision can do for you, give us a call or drop us a message! We’ll reach out to you ASAP to kick-start your journey to being free of glasses and contact lenses.