Time needed: 6 hours and 2 minutes.
Clean contact lenses and healthy lens wear will help you avoid infections. Contact lenses are a fantastic alternative to glasses. There is strong evidence to show that these steps are important:
- Wash your hands
Before handling lenses or touching your eyes, wash your hands thoroughly.
- Rub your contact lenses in fresh solution
Only use fresh solution prescribed by your Optometrist. Not all solutions are the same. Rubbing helps to mechanically remove deposits on the lenses.
- Rinse your lenses with fresh solution
Wash away the deposits and organisms removed in step 2 above.
- Soak your lenses in fresh solution
A minimum of 6 hours is recommended to properly sanitise your contact lenses. Do not top up your soaking container, replace used solution with fresh solution. Between soakings, wash and air dry your soaking container upside down.
- Repeat steps 2 & 3 prior to inserting reusable lenses
Your contact lenses will be cleaner and contaminated soaking solution is washed away.
- Don’t and Avoid
Don’t use water with lenses or cases. Avoid sleeping in your contact lenses as prolonged wear increases your risk of infection.
Furthermore, contact lens wearers should visit an Optometrist for a complete eye health checkup every 12 months.
Why are clean contact lenses important?
Every year in Australia, a number of contact lenses wearers will be affected by this condition. Some will require a corneal transplant to replace the front of their eye while others undergo more than a year of intensive treatment.
While Acanathamoeba infections are particularly severe and difficult to treat, they are rare. However, general bacterial infections are common and can still result in significant loss of vision.
Infection risk factors
You are more at risk of an eye infection related to contact lens wear if:
- Wearing lenses overnight
- Storage case hygiene is poor
- Hand hygiene is poor
- Purchasing contact lenses online (linked to inadequate eye health checks)
- You have less than 6 months wear experience
- Higher socioeconomic class
- Swimming with contact lenses
- Using inadequate lens cleaning methods
How do I know if I have a problem?
A golden rule of contact lens wear is:
If your eyes sting, become red, watery, blurry or uncomfortable while wearing contact lenses – REMOVE THEM!
If your symptoms get worse or persist, make an appointment. GPs don’t generally have equipment to diagnose serious eye infections such as Pseudomonas. Furthermore, this organism is resistant to the strongest over-the-counter drops, chloramphenicol (Chlorsig).
Our Optometrists can treat eye infections by prescribing eye drops and can refer you to an ophthalmologist (specialist eye doctor) if needed.