Contact Lens Health

Created on: Thursday, August 10, 2017

Did you hear about the woman who was recently found to have 27 contact lenses in one eye?  Contact Lens Health Week is August 24th -28th and it is the perfect time to discuss the importance of proper contact lens hygiene.  Healthy contact lens wear and care practices are essential to reduce the risk of eye infections and complications that can occur with improper contact lens use.

A 65 year old woman who was preparing for cataract surgery was found to have 17 lenses clumped together under her eyelid as well as an additional 10 lenses under her lid upon further inspection.  The woman had been using disposable contact lenses for 35 years but had not been getting regular eye exams.  Surprisingly, she had only noticed mild irritation which she had attributed to her age and dryness.  She was very lucky to not have suffered any true complications, but many other people aren't quite so lucky!

The most common cause of serious eye infections is wearing contact lenses overnight.  Even lenses designed to sleep in have a significantly higher rate of complications.  When lenses are worn overnight, not only does the eye get much less oxygen, but any bacteria on the lenses sits on the eye much longer without getting cleaned.  Removing contact lenses a couple hours before bed always helps to give the eye more oxygen, and soaking the lenses overnight in solution also reduces the chance of getting an infection.

Another common cause of complications is from improper contact lens care.  The type of solution used to clean the lenses can make a big difference both in overall comfort as well as the risk of infection.  It is important to talk with your eye doctor not only about the brand of contact lenses you wear but also about the solution you use to clean them.  It is essential to rub the lenses each night and store them in fresh solution every time.

One way to eliminate most of the issues mentioned above is to switch to daily disposable contact lenses. With these single use contact lenses a patient can put the lens in each morning and then throw it away that night.  It takes away all of the cleaning and maintenance associated with reusable contacts, and also allows for increased comfort and reduced irritation from many conditions including allergies and dry eye.  New technology is available every year so be sure to visit your eye doctor every year to ensure you are wearing the best possible contact lens for your eyes!


 By Dr. Ashley Herde