At this time of year we have many students filling the streets of our fair city. The sense of excitement the arrive with is almost visible in the air, their heads are filled with big thoughts, big dreams, great plans and (hopefully) a thirst for knowledge.
It can also be a somewhat scary time for the young students. Taking their first real steps towards adulthood and independence and starting to make their way in the world. Amazing opportunities will be open to them, the ability to create their own rules, the fun of making new friends and bundled along with this comes the boring bits of life – the responsibilities.
We all have these day-to-day mundane tasks put upon us. They are chores, every day necessities, perhaps even the drudgery of life, but without them life’s a whole lot less pleasant. To some of the students it’s perhaps a bit of a shock to the system that these items just don’t seem to magically take care of themselves, a recent conversation on our twitter feed was a perfect example!
Ah, bless them, the little darlings!
What’s this got do with optometry, you may wonder. One of our challenges in the office, though, is in making sure when we are discussing contact lenses we make sure we share our feelings about the importance of a good contact lens wear regime.
Contact lenses bring many advantages over glasses and many people enjoy wearing their contact lenses, either as an almost full time alternative or as an option for sports or social occasions. One of the main drawbacks of contact lenses, though, is that you are placing a foreign object on to perhaps the most important and sensitive organ of the body. If our vision becomes compromised the results can be devastating, and yet the approach that some people take to contact lens wear can often be shocking.
When we start chatting about contact lens wear we often ask current wearers simple questions about how often they change their lenses, their lens cases, do they always use fresh cleaning solution. Many wearers follow good care with their lenses, however, there are unfortunately those that don’t. People may answer that they wash their hands before handling the lenses … but then they’re putting the lenses in to week old stale solution in a case which is several years old! Worst still, people maybe try to get away with saline or some other solution!
As eye-geeks we’re fairly protective towards people’s peepers and this kind of thing just fills us with dread! There are some really simple rules about safe contact lens wear:
1 – always wash and dry your hands before handling your contacts;
2 – always replace your lenses as per their proper schedule (most lenses are now either monthly, two weekly or single use daily lenses);
3 – always use fresh solution to disinfect your lenses overnight, allow for the minimum disinfection times necessary and swap out your case as per the solution recommendations;
4 – if you have a problem seek advice as soon as possible.
When we talk to people, reminding them of the basic rules they probably knew at the beginning of their contact lens wearing life, they often admit that they know they’ve just got in to bad habits, but they haven’t had a problem yet. The important word is the last one … “yet”. Unfortunately, we have seen what happens when problems arise and they can take hold very rapidly without much warning.
A good contact lens regime can not guarantee that there will never be any adverse problems, but it will greatly reduce the risk of complications. Just like changing your underwear and doing your laundry (students) will greatly enhance your general quality of life!
I know we’ve posted this elsewhere, but we do love this video from Acuvue also showing why regular replacement is important: