Contact lenses are enjoyed safely by millions of people in the UK and when looked after properly, are a safe and effective way to correct vision. However, research indicates that not all contact lens wearers consistently follow aftercare advice and this can increase the risk of developing eye infections.
Now in its second year, Love Your Lenses Week sees eye care professionals, professional bodies, employers and manufacturers across the UK joining forces to remind contact lens wearers of the importance of following aftercare advice. Running from 24-30 March, this year’s campaign will focus on the importance of correctly washing and drying hands, including thumbs, when handling contact lenses.
A report, ‘Thumbs Up for Healthy Eyes’, has been produced by the General Optical Council in partnership with Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to mark the week. The report warns of the danger of touching contact lenses with unclean hands as well as providing a step by step guide for effective hand washing and drying. Its research found that more than 1 in 4 (28%) of contact lens wearers aged 18-24 don’t always wash their hands before handling their contact lenses.
A contributor to the report and consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Private, Badrul Hussain treats many patients with contact lens-related infections. He says:
“While serious infections are rare, every year we treat patients with eye infections that could have been avoided if appropriate contact lens care and wear advice was followed. Effective hand-washing is an essential part of contact lens care as it limits the spread of harmful bacteria. I would advise contact lens wearers to always wash and dry their hands thoroughly before handling their contact lenses or lens cases.”
Love Your Lenses week is orchestrated by the General Optical Council, the regulator for the optical professions in the UK.
For more information about how to love your lenses as well to read the full report visit loveyourlenses.com or follow #LoveYourLenses on Twitter.