Contact lenses are thin, curved lenses that sit on the surface of the eye, to correct poor vision. Depending on what type of contact lenses you buy, you can wear them for up to a single day, or even an entire year. If you wear contact lenses, it’s crucial that you use and clean them correctly to keep your eyes healthy, warned the NHS. But, more than 40 per cent of all contact lens wearers have admitted to showering while wearing their lenses.
Showering or bathing while wearing your contact lenses should be avoided, warned the NHS.
That includes wearing your lenses while swimming, or playing water sports.
But, 30 per cent of contact lens wearers said they swim while wearing their lenses, according to research from Optegra.
The eye care specialist also revealed that almost a third of all patients admitted to sleeping with their lenses in, while almost a fifth don’t wash their hands before putting their lenses in.
Seventeen per cent said they use eye drops while wearing contact lenses, despite the drops not being designed to cater for contact lenses.
“It is vital if you choose to wear contact lenses that you keep both the lenses and the case clean, using only the contact lens solution provided by your optician and nothing else,” said Optegra’s Eye Sciences Clinical Research Associate, Sundeep Vaswani.
“You should always remove your lenses when showering, swimming or going in a hot tub, sauna or steam room.
“Never sleep in lenses either, unless your lenses are designed for this purpose and has been approved by your optician.
“If you have any discomfort, redness, discharge, itchiness or irritation, you should remove the lenses and see your optician immediately.”
One contact lens wearer said she was “horrified” when she thought of one incident with her lenses.
Beth Turner, 23, said: “My contact lens once came out of my eye when I was on a night out, it fell onto the sink in a bar and I picked it up and put it back in my eye.”
If you use contact lenses, you should wash, rinse and dry your hands thoroughly before touching your eyes, said the NHS.
You should only wear them for the recommended time, and up to 12 hours without a break.
It’s also crucial that you have regular eye check-ups with your optician, even if you think everything is okay.
If you’re ever in doubt about the health of your eyes, take out your contact lenses straight away, and go to a local eye casualty department.
You should seek immediate medical attention if you develop blurred vision, a painful, red or swollen eye, or find a white or yellow spot over the coloured part of your eye.