There is no doubt about it—wearing contact lenses can be a lot of hard work! Hygiene is crucial when handling lenses, which often leads to a time-consuming daily routine. Unsurprisingly, 99% of contact lens wearers admit that they do not always practice good lens hygiene, putting themselves at risk of serious eye health problems.

Here are seven bad contact lens habits that could endanger your vision:

1. Sleeping in Contacts

Around 30% of contact lens users fall asleep in their lenses. This habit increases the risk of eye infections by eight times. When you sleep with your contacts in, you create an ideal environment for bacteria to multiply. This can lead to bacterial infections that may result in corneal ulcers and, ultimately, vision loss. Even contacts that are marketed as extended wear should be removed regularly to allow your eyes to breathe.

2. Swimming in Lenses

Swimming with contacts can cause irritation, inflammation, and eye infections. The chlorine in pool water does not kill all bacteria, and these germs can migrate from the pool water onto your contact lenses. Additionally, swimming in natural bodies of water like lakes and oceans exposes your lenses to a host of bacteria and microorganisms that can cause severe eye infections. It’s best to avoid swimming with contacts or use prescription swimming goggles to protect your eyes.

3. Using Tap Water to Clean Contacts

Tap water can harbour a variety of viruses and bugs. One hazardous organism is Acanthamoeba, a parasite that can cling to your lens and cause a severe infection called Acanthamoeba keratitis. This infection is difficult to treat and, in the worst cases, may require a corneal transplant to restore vision. Always use the recommended sterile contact lens solution to clean and store your lenses, and never use tap water.

4. Poor Hand Hygiene

Proper hand washing before handling contacts is essential. Any germs on your hands can be transferred to the lenses and then to your eye, increasing the risk of irritation and infection. To minimize this risk, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and dry them with a lint-free towel before touching your lenses. This simple step can prevent a host of eye problems.

5. Reusing Contact Lens Solution

Many users do not replace the contact lens solution in their lens case, opting instead to top up the existing solution with a fresh solution. This practice dilutes the effectiveness of the disinfecting agents in the solution, encouraging bacteria to thrive. To maintain the potency of the solution and ensure your lenses are correctly disinfected, always discard the old solution and use a fresh solution each time you store your lenses.

6. Wearing Contacts Past Their Expiration Date

Using your contact lenses or lens solution after their expiry date can lead to contamination and degradation of the materials. Expired lenses and solutions are more prone to harbouring bacteria, increasing the likelihood of developing an eye infection or corneal ulcer. Always adhere to the recommended replacement schedule for your lenses and the expiry dates of your solutions to protect your eye health.

7. Buying Novelty Contact Lenses

These lenses are not suitable for vision correction and can be dangerous even if sourced from reputable sellers. Poorly made lenses can cause scratches on the cornea, leading to infections and other serious eye problems. Only purchase lenses from approved pharmacies or reputable sellers to ensure they are safe for your eyes.

Alternatives to Contact Lenses

Given the commitment required for contact lens use, many wearers look for alternatives. Two popular and permanent replacements are Laser Eye Surgery and Implantable Contact Lenses, both of which require no daily maintenance and offer lasting solutions to vision problems.

Laser Eye Surgery

Laser Eye Surgery is designed to alter the point where light reaches the retina by reshaping the cornea with an excimer laser. This procedure corrects visual defects such as short-sightedness, long-sightedness, and astigmatism. Over time, the cost of regular eye exams and contact lenses can add up, making Laser Eye Surgery a cost-effective option in the long run.

Laser treatment is a permanent solution, but it cannot prevent the natural aging process of the eyes, which may lead to presbyopia (the need for reading glasses) later in life. However, it can significantly reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contacts for many years. At Precision Vision London, 100% of patients achieve the driving standard, and 99% of patients achieve 20/20 vision following Laser Eye Treatment.

Implantable Contact Lenses

Implantable Contact Lenses (ICL) are another excellent alternative, especially for people who suffer from dry eyes, have thin corneas, or have high prescriptions that make laser surgery less suitable. At Precision Vision London, we use EVO Visian ICL, the safest and most advanced form of ICL treatment available.

EVO Visian ICLs are FDA-approved and have a proven safety record. An Implantable Contact Lens is a fragile lens made of a biocompatible material called Collamer. It is placed inside the eye, just behind the iris, and is designed to function in harmony with your natural eye. Since 1997, over 1,000,000 eyes have been implanted with EVO VisianICLs, boasting a patient satisfaction rate of 99%.

Many patients opt for this treatment over laser surgery because it does not permanently modify the cornea, which can cause dry eyes. Additionally, the ICL procedure is entirely reversible, providing peace of mind for those who may be apprehensive about permanent surgical alterations.

Take Control of Your Eye Health

Maintaining good hygiene and care habits with contact lenses is essential to avoid serious eye health issues. If the daily maintenance of contact lenses seems overwhelming, consider the permanent alternatives of Laser Eye Surgery or Implantable Contact Lenses. Both options offer freedom from the daily rigors of contact lens care and can significantly improve your quality of life.

If you would like to know more about these two permanent, hassle-free alternatives to temporary contact lenses, schedule an appointment with Precision Vision London.

Call us at 020 3884 6805 or book online. Take the first step towards clearer vision and healthier eyes today!