Over two million people in the UK are currently affected by sight loss and with this estimated to double by 2050 it’s important to take your contact lens hygiene seriously. While getting used to caring for your lenses is simple, it’s just as easy to slip into a few bad habits, especially if you are in a rush.
There are 4.2 million contact lens wearers in the UK and while many look after their eyes and lenses, others, according to a recent survey we conducted, are putting their eye health at risk.
As this week is National Eye Health Week, we commissioned a new report that highlights just how easy it can be to fall into bad habits. Below we’ve listed our findings alongside of some of the most common contact lens bad habits and why they should be avoided.
Five bad habits to avoid when wearing contact lenses
Watch this video and learn how to avoid the common bad habits of most contact lens wearers.
Sleeping in lenses
Over 70% of contact lens wearers have fallen asleep in their lenses. Unless specifically designed to be slept in, contact lenses need to be taken out before you go to bed. Overnight, our eyelids are designed to provide moisture to our eyes, simultaneously soothing them and cleaning away any bacteria that may be present. Leaving contact lenses in means they'll soak up the moisture instead which leads to very uncomfortable eyes by the morning.
If you think you could benefit from being able to sleep in your lenses, ask your optician about wear lenses.
Using old solution
Once lens solution has been used once, it should be thrown out immediately. In much the same way you wouldn’t wash your dishes in dirty water, used contact lens solution contains everything you were trying to remove the night before. Wearing contact lenses that haven’t been properly washed in clean solution can lead to a painful eye infection, so fresh solution is vital.
Swimming or showering in lenses
39% of our sample have worn their contacts whilst swimming. If you're going swimming or having a wash you should take your contact lenses out. As contact lenses are designed to lock in moisture, they will collect up any water they come close to.
Unfortunately water contains a number of organisms that could be harmful to your eyes, especially with prolonged exposure. This can lead to a lot of discomfort and even an infection.
Wearing lenses for longer than they're designed for
The research found that 70% of contact lens wearers have fallen asleep in their lenses, with the most common reasons being because they forgot to take them out (41%), they had a bit too much to drink (27%) or they have been too tired to take them out (21%) – thus resulting in dry and uncomfortable eyes. Contact lenses all have a very strict replacement schedules which should never be strayed from. Whether you wear daily, weekly or monthly lenses, keeping your lenses on for longer than recommended can seriously reduce the amount of moisture they can provide your eyes. Take your lenses out and replace them with glasses rather than wear them for longer than you should to avoid any discomfort.
Washing lenses with anything other than solution
Almost a quarter of our sample (23%) have rinsed their lenses in water rather than solution to disinfect them.
Contact lens solution is designed specifically to clean lenses, with chemicals that are essential for sterilising them and making them safe and comfortable to wear. Using water of any kind, including mineral water and saliva, introduces a host of bacteria to the lens, which can then lead to eye infections.
We stock a range of affordable and high-quality contact lens solutions, so you can always be sure that your contacts are safe to use.