News that a British woman had to have a cataract operation cancelled because surgeons found 27 contact lenses stuck in her eye serves to highlight the importance of regular care when wearing them.
Nick Black, BBR Optometry’s contact lens specialist, says: “This really is a shocking case and shows how important it is for everyone considering wearing lenses to fully understand the care that is needed.
“Before we dispense contact lenses, we ensure every patient is taught how to handle the lenses which involves inserting and removing the lenses from your eyes and, where required, instructions on how to clean and look after them.
“Most contact lenses are designed to be taken out at the end of the day because the cornea of your eye really needs oxygen, otherwise it can result in changes of the cornea which could cause your vision to become blurred.
“If your eye tissue continues to be deprived of the oxygen it needs, because of the contact lenses which acts like barriers, then in extreme cases some small blood vessels may develop into the cornea in order to supply the tissue with the required oxygen.
“Sleeping in contact lenses is not recommended unless you are using Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) which are worn throughout the night and then taken out in the morning or specific lenses specially designed for long-term wear,” he added.
All patients considering wearing contact lenses at BBR Optometry are allowed to trial their chosen contact lenses to ensure they work for them and then they will be advised to have regular appointments to check the health of their eyes.
Nick added: “This case was published in the British Medical Journal which said the 67-year-old patient had worn monthly disposable lenses for 35 years but did not attend regular eye examinations.
“This serves to stress that contact lenses are a medical device and need to be treated as such and regular eye examinations are an essential part of this care.
“I know sometimes patients can forget to take out their lenses and, if this happens, they are advised to contact us to find out if they need to take any further action, but I cannot stress enough the importance of regular eye examinations for all wearers to ensure their best possible eye health.
“Some of our patients can get frustrated when we tell them we cannot supply lenses if they have missed appointments. The case of this lady who had not been seeing her optometrist illustrates the reason why all opticians are bound by a duty of care not to supply lenses unless aftercare is up to date.”
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