Every now and then I come across articles with headlines such as "blinded by contact lens!" As someone who until recently worked in an opticians articles like this frustrate me as they are fear mongering, so after reading an article published by the BBC (click here) I have decided to write this post that will detail the do's and don'ts of contact lenses.
Are contact lenses safe? That depends on you. It all comes done to hygiene. Not everyone have been fortunate to have their sight, why would you risk yours for laziness or vanity?
In that particular article linked above that woman lost her sight due to her laziness and vanity, not the lens itself, she handled her lenses with wet hands and continued to wear her lenses despite her eyes being irritated. Now if you are a contact lens wearer, if you had any sense, you would of got your lenses through an optician, you would of been measured, had the health and prescription of your eyes checked before being fitted with lenses, if you were suitable (note: your spectacle prescription will be different to the contact lens prescription!!) Before an optician is allowed to sell you lenses they have a responsibility to teach you how to insert and remove the lenses, they have to discuss hygiene, do's and don'ts, care for the lenses and where to go for emergencys or when to return for aftercares.
It is always stressed that water should NEVER come into contact with your contact lenses, even water hat has been filtered and safe for us to drink has forms of bacteria in it, if this bacteria gets behind that lens, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and parasites, causing infections and eventually loss of sight. Yes I know that sounds horrifying but if you follow the instructions given to you by the optician you will never have to worry.
ALWAYS wash your hands before handling lenses and touching your eyes, ensure your hands are fully dry. Never wear lenses to shower, bath or to swim in!!!
Ladies put your lenses in BEFORE putting your Make up on and avoid putting make up on the water lines, when using hairsprays or deodorants nsure to keep your eyes tightly shut.
AVOID sleeping in lenses, and no the lens can't get lost behind the eye, that is physically impossible. If you do manage to fall asleep with them in don't panic, it happens, I've done it far more than i care to admit so when waking up your eyes are going to be dry and sore, DO NOT take the lenses out straight away, with your eyes closed massage the eye lids and leave them for up to an hour before removing them, this routine allows the eyes to 'lube' up the lens for safe removal, taking the lens out straight away can cause damage to the eye!
ALWAYS have an aftercare at least once a year, these checks are incredibly important, even if you feel the vision is fine, the aftercare is to check the health of your eyes.
Never EVER buy contacts from anywhere other than an optician, even online 'opticians', those cosmetic lenses sold in your local hairdressers or sunbed shop...are illegal, the lenses are plastic and suffocate the eyes, your eye colour is part of your beauty! But if you REALLY want coloured lenses make sure you do it properly and visit an optician. I'm not saying purchasing lenses online is unsafe, i just personally don't agree they should be available to purchase online, so many things could go wrong such as entering your prescription wrong, using your spectacle prescription instead of your contact lens prescription, lenses come in all different sizes and so on, how do you know whats suitable? they maybe cheap to buy but will cost you more once check ups come around. An optician is not able to do an aftercare for lenses that haven't been fitted to you, also if it is not a brand that the optician doesn't fit themselves they can't do an aftercare as they have no idea about the lenses you are wearing so they would have to do a re-fit meaning you would have to purchase more lenses through the optician.