Why Love Your Lenses
Contact lenses have changed millions of people’s lives for the better.
They are simple, convenient to use and many wearers feel they offer better and more natural all-round vision than spectacles. They can even help people to achieve life-long dreams, such as becoming professional athletes or West End stars!
“I’m a goalkeeper and I kind of need to see the whole field. When my team scores I have to wait until my defenders all start screaming ‘yes’ and then I act like I’ve seen it, and I’m going yes!
“It’s not like wearing glasses, with glasses you can see the rims, but with contact lenses it’s just normal, you can see, it’s amazing! Once you put them in, you can’t feel them whatsoever and everything is just normal, it’s clear.”
If they are looked after properly, contact lenses are safe. However, not all contact lenses wearers know how to look after contact lenses properly, for example by not visiting their optician for a check-up at least once a year.
When contact lenses aren’t looked after properly, there is a risk of developing eye infections.
In most cases these infections can be treated fairly easily but will require you to not wear your lenses for a short period of time. However, in rare cases a much more serious infection called acanthamoeba keratitis can cause lasting damage with life-changing consequences.
Irenie, 36, from Enfield explains how the infection has affected her life:
“I had worn contact lenses for many years and, like for millions of other people in the UK, they had never caused me any problems and. As far as I was aware, I was doing all I needed to look after my lenses and keep my eyes healthy.
“Completely out of the blue in 2011 I developed excruciating eye pain and light sensitivity in one eye. I went straight to Moorfields Eye Hospital where I was diagnosed with a very rare but serious eye infection called Acanthamoeba Keratitis (AK).
“I started treatment immediately but was unable to work due to needing round-the-clock medication. Six years on, I continue to receive treatment. I have had to have two corneal transplant operations and have permanently lost the sight in one eye.
“Many lens wearers don’t realise that the leading cause of this rare but serious infection is people unknowingly exposing their lenses to water. It is a condition that can be prevented simply by keeping contact lenses away from water; by not rinsing or storing lenses in water, as well as not wearing them in the shower, bath or swimming pool, or even handling lenses with wet hands
“Experiencing AK has completely changed my life. I am determined to help other contact lens wearers understand the simple fact that contact lenses and water shouldn’t ever mix.”