Contact Lens Practice Pearls
New Site Focuses on Lens Safety
By Thomas G. Quinn, OD, MS, FAAO
We spend a lot of time providing information to patients in hopes of easing concerns, modifying behavior or helping with decision-making. Many messages relate to lens care and adhering to recommendations. We reinforce points constantly, and it can feel like a burden on time and efficiency. Help is on the way.
At the time of this writing, a new consumer-oriented website, www.contactlenssafety.org, is poised to be launched. Developed by the American Optometric Association's Contact Lens and Cornea Section in cooperation with the American Academy of Optometry's Cornea, Contact Lenses & Refractive Technologies Section, the site is intended to be an authoritative resource on all topics relating to lens safety.
A panel of experts developed nearly 50 questions thought to be common in the minds of consumers regarding lens safety. Answers are based on published research and include references for readers to explore further if they choose to do so.
Questions will be tracked, informing monitors of what topics are of great or little interest. Subsequently, certain topics may be expanded and others discarded. Visitors may also ask questions not included in the original list. This will allow the website to evolve as new topics arise.
Pertinent Lens Topics
The new website is divided into five sections:
Section 1: Lens Types/Replacement and Wearing Schedules/Safety. The first section, which has the most content, addresses questions about replacement schedules and what could happen if they are not followed. It covers other risk factors for complications, such as smoking and poor storage case hygiene.
Additionally, this section goes into depth about what organisms are most dangerous to the eye and how to avoid complications from them.
Section 2: Contact Lens Care. This section clarifies the value of rubbing lenses after removal, when to discard solutions, what lubricants are okay to use with contact lenses, and what to do with a lens that has been dropped on the floor. This section also addresses proper lens storage when lenses are worn only occasionally. Finally, it strongly advises against tap water use on lenses.
Section 3: Care for Lens Cases. Proper care of cases has been an area of interest for researchers recently, bringing to our attention the importance of case hygiene. In this section, readers are counseled to clean cases as follows:
1. Rub the bowls and lids of the case with clean fingers for at least 5 seconds.
2. Rinse the case with contact lens disinfecting solution.
3. Wipe dry with a clean cloth.
4. For standard cases, store upside down, caps off, in a clean environment (not near the toilet!).
5. For silver impregnated cases, moisture helps activate the silver, so cases should be stored with caps screwed onto the case.
Section 4: Lens Wear in Various Environments. Contact lenses are worn in a wide variety of settings. This section informs readers of the advisability of wearing lenses in these environments and what safeguards to take to ensure good comfort, vision, and eye health.
Section 5: Purchasing Contact Lenses. The final section addresses the issue of purchasing lenses on the Internet or in drug stores, with particular emphasis on decorative contact lenses.
A Resource for All
Not sure how to address some of the issues raised in this column? Go to www.contactlenssafety.org. It's there to help! CLS
The website was developed by Christine Sindt, OD, FAAO; Loretta Szczotka-Flynn, OD, PhD, FAAO, Dipl; Edward S. Bennett, OD, MSEd, FAAO, Dipl; and Thomas G. Quinn, OD, MS, FAAO, Dipl.
Dr. Quinn is in group practice in Athens, Ohio. He is a diplomate of the Cornea and Contact Lens Section of the American Academy of Optometry, an advisor to the GP Lens Institute, and an area manager for Vision Source. He has served as an advisor or consultant to Coopervision, Ciba Vision, and Vistakon and has received research funding from AMO, B&L, Ciba Vision, Coopervision, and Vistakon. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.