Hand hygiene is one of the simplest, yet easily forgotten pieces of information your optometrist will tell you about when first get contact lenses. Your hands carry lots of bacteria, which can be transferred onto the contact lenses and into the eye if proper hand hygiene is not followed. Poor hygiene is one of the main reasons contact lens wearers may get an eye infection. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important now more than ever to get back into some good habits for good hygiene when handling contact lenses.
Some key tips to remember:
1. Always wash your hands with soap and water and thoroughly dry before handling your contact lenses. Hand sanitiser can be used as a replacement if soap and water is not available, but it is not advised if you require to ‘rub’ your contact lenses before inserting them (as is the case in hard lenses or reusable lenses).
2. Make sure you’re working within a clean space when inserting and removing contact lenses. Ensure the sink or space you’re using has been cleaned in case the contact lens falls on the surface.
3. In lenses that are designed to be used more than once (fortnightly, monthly, conventional), rub the lenses with a multipurpose solution between the thumb and forefinger or in the palm of the hand. Rinse with some more multipurpose solution before inserting in the eye.
4. Always ensure you replace your contact lens case with each new bottle of solution.
5. If you have reusable contact lenses, ensure you throw out the used solution in the case and rinse the case, before leaving it in a clean place to air dry.
If you have signs of an infection, it is recommended to come in and see your optometrist. Common signs of an eye infection are:
- Red eyes
- Pain or discomfort, particularly with the contact lenses removed
- A change in vision
- Discharge, watery or mucous
- Light sensitivity
Abernethy Owens is still open for your eye-related queries. If you have concerns about your eyes or contact lenses, call our staff.