Importance of contact lens hygiene "cannot be overstated"

Importance of contact lens hygiene "cannot be overstated"

By Alexa Kaczka

Although millions of people across the planet benefit from wearing contact lenses and the comfortable and effective vision correction that the products provide, some people are failing to follow the correct hygiene procedures, it has been claimed.

That was the result of a recent roundtable discussion involving a team of experts including ophthalmologist expert Dr Jim Salz and vision scientist Danielle Robertson, who noted that people need to follow the hygiene routines recommended by their optician, optometrist or contact lens manufacturer.

The discussion, hosted by NPR News', centred on the simple tips people can follow to maintain optical hygiene, with the experts noting that cleaning and storing contact lenses is not complicated, but requires adherence to certain "simple but important" steps and the avoidance of shortcuts.

Danielle Robertson, a vision scientist at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center, revealed that she recently surveyed 433 people who wore contacts regarding their hygiene routines and found that fewer than one per cent were doing everything right.

"That means 99 percent were doing something wrong. Most commonly, it had to do with storage. When contacts aren't being worn, they're supposed to be kept in a small plastic container full of sterile solution, but people didn't bother changing it; they just topped it up without changing it completely," she explained.

Meanwhile, Jim Salz, from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, says hygiene is important at every step of the contact lens wearing process.

"Wash your hands and remove each contact and put it in the reservoir, and then leave them overnight. And then in the morning take them out, with clean hands again, and wash your hands, take the contact and put it in your eye," he explained.

By following these simple tips and avoiding an optical faux pas, such as sleeping in contact lenses, people can benefit from optimal vision correction with minimal risk, the experts stated.

by Martin Burns

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