By Nigel Little 

Ortho-k opticians  who specialise in fitting the new overnight ortho-k contact lenses to correct short-sightedness can ensure their patients achieve a much better standard of wear and care compliance to minimise the risk of developing eye infections. This is an extremely important issue given recent surveys which have again highlighted the fact that many contact lens wearers are insufficiently careful in following the recommended guidelines for cleaning and storing their lenses with the consequent risk of encouraging bacterial growth. As an example, a new US analysis published in the December 2011 issue of ‘Optometry and Vision Science' concluded that just 2% of surveyed contact lens wearers actually complied with the recommended lens hygiene guidelines.

This extremely high level of non-compliance was in almost inverse proportion with the respondents' prior confirmation that they were fully aware of the guidelines which should be followed. Effectively, they simply ignored them and appeared unaware of the potentially serious risks to their eye health if they subsequently contracted a bacterial infection. For ortho-k opticians , the job of ensuring their patients follow wear and care guidelines is particularly important since the lenses are only worn at night while sleeping. The lenses correct short-sightedness by gently flattening the surface of the eye during sleep so that when the lenses are removed each morning, the wearer has perfect natural vision which lasts all day long until the lenses are reinserted at night.

Ideally, in addition to following either a rub-rinse-store approach using an all-in-one cleaning solution or alternatively simply soaking in a peroxide-based cleaner, ortho-k lenses should be replaced around every six months and the leading ortho-k opticians  in the UK have created aftercare plans for their patients which include provision of replacement lenses at designated intervals plus the appropriate cleaning solutions. In contrast, many conventional contact lens wearers increasingly source their lenses at the lowest prices from the internet unlike ortho-k lens wearers who can only source their lenses through an accredited optician. Often this is done without providing a prescription or evidence of a recent eye health check. Typically, these contact lens wearers are not only replacing their lenses less regularly but also sourcing the cheapest cleaning solutions as well as reusing old storage containers, all of which expose them to increased infection risk.

Check if you are suitable for overnight ortho-k corrective contact lenses .

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