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Contact Lenses – Are you aware of the risks?

In this current climate we are all so much more aware of our health and the importance of keeping safe from unwanted germs and infections.  Face masks, social distancing and antibacterial hand-gel have become the ‘new normal’ in order to try and reduce the risks of infections both for ourselves and for those around us.

The messages are quite clear – wash your hands, don’t touch your face and keep healthy.  So, why are millions of contact lens wearers still touching their eyes on a daily basis? Simple – they are not aware of the facts.

Advice from the World Health Organisation throughout the Coronavirus pandemic has been to avoid touching your face.  As hands touch many surfaces, they’re very exposed to bacteria and viruses.  Once hands are contaminated, this bacteria can easily transfer to the eyes, nose or mouth, entering the body and spreading infection.

So for contact lens wearers, now more than ever, special care and attention must be taken. Every time a contact lens user puts in or takes out their lenses, they are at risk of causing a serious eye infection. Some infections are so severe that they require hospital treatment and can even lead to sight loss.

The good news?  There are alternative vision correction solutions available that can reduce this risk, including vision correction surgery.  Optical Express’s peer review published data[1],[2] found that reputable daily wear contact lenses are 4 times more likely to lead to a serious sight threatening infection than LASIK laser eye surgery during each year of wear. Even more shockingly, extended or overnight wear lenses carry a 20 times greater risk per year of wear than LASIK laser eye surgery. The statistics are clear.  So why are you continuing to put your vision and your health at risk?

Not only is ditching contact lenses a good option to protect your health and well-being, but with many contact lens related eye infections requiring hospital treatment, this will also reduce the added stress these unnecessary hospital trips put on the NHS.

As well as the health risks related to contact lenses, a fact often overlooked by many is that contact lenses are single-use plastics and are adding to the global issue of plastic pollution.  In fact, over 750 million contact lenses end up in the oceans or in landfill in the UK every year[3]. So, not only is vision correction surgery better for your vision, it is also better for our planet. 

As the UK’s only complete eye care provider, Optical Express has a responsibility to ensure that every one of our patients is given all the facts on contact lens risks so they are able to make an informed choice about their eye care. Protect your vision, protect your health, protect the NHS and protect our planet.  Talk to our expert team today about which vision correction option could be best for you.



[1] Infective Keratitis after Laser Vision Correction: Incidence and Risk Factors; Shallhorn et al; J Cataract Refract Surgery 2017; 43: 473-479.

[2] Contact Lens Replicated Microbial Keratitis; Stapleton et al; Eye 2012; 26: 185-193.

[3] Optical Express survey of 3,104 Contact Lens wearers.

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