You recently coordinated the Contact Lens and Ocular Surface Conference at IMO. What were the main areas of discussion?
We discussed the different types of contact lenses available, such as progressive, soft and semi-rigid, and the conditions they are designed to address, including presbyopia (old eyes), astigmatism and complicated prescriptions. There are different types of lenses for almost all types of patient, although they do not function the same way for everyone. There are also monovision contact lenses, in which vision is corrected differently in each eye: for example, the right eye for near vision and the left for more distance.
Why is it that contact lenses can be comfortable for some people and not for others?
It could be a problem with dryness, caused by working long hours on a computer and not blinking enough. Or maybe the wrong type of lens is being used.
Can anyone wear contact lenses?
In theory, yes, as long as the cornea is healthy and no eye disorders exist. But they are not for everyone, and it depends on how motivated people are and what activities they want to use them for: playing sport, work, etc.
Can prolonged use of contact lenses cause corneal complications?
The conclusion we reached at the conference was that extended-wear lenses that can be worn when sleeping can cause more complications than daily disposable lenses. The main problem arises when people use the daily lenses for prolonged use.
Wouldn’t it be simpler to just remove all lenses before going to sleep?
Yes, it would, but wearers sometimes forget that they’re wearing them, because they’re so unobtrusive, and don’t take them out before going to bed. It’s important to use contact lenses correctly to avoid infections that can lead to serious corneal problems..
Are contact lenses popular at the moment or do people prefer to wear traditional glasses or have surgery?
They’re all different, and it depends on how people prefer to deal with their condition.
Do you have any contact lens hygiene tips?
Yes. Wearers should only use the lens solutions that their optician recommends and clean the case every day with hot water to prevent bacteria from building up. They should also replace the case every month. It is important to understand that, if the lenses are single use, they must be disposed of at the end of the day. If they are for extended wear, strict hygiene must be observed to prevent infection.
How long should contact lenses be worn for?
Between 8 and 10 hours at most. Some people wear them for 14 or 16 hours and are quite lazy about taking them out to sleep. This is what causes the problems. It is important to use contact lenses responsibly. Laura González also advised that people should, generally, take good care of their eyes, because they are often neglected. Sunglasses should be worn for protection against the sun, good hygiene should be observed when using contact lenses and, if a lot of time is spent working on a computer, a conscious effort should be made to blink frequently to lubricate the eyes. Listen to the full interview on COM Radio.