BCLA are supporting Love your Lenses Week: 24 - 30 March 2018

Wash your hands. It’s a simple message which is drilled into us from a young age, but how many of us actually do it regularly as part of our daily routine? 

If the evidence released as part of Love Your Lenses week is anything to go by, the answer is clearly nowhere near enough and it’s putting the nation’s eye health at risk.  

The BCLA has once again teamed up with industry partners to collaborate on the ‘Love Your Lenses’ campaign. The week, which runs until March 30, is aimed at raising awareness among patients of how best to look after their lenses, care for them and get the best out of them.

This year, the campaign is focussing on the importance of thorough hand-washing for safe contact lens care and research carried out ahead of the week discovered that, worryingly, young people (18-24 years) are four times less likely to wash their hands before touching their eyes than people aged over 65 years. Touching or rubbing eyes with unclean hands can spread infections, including the common cold.

We are now urging the UK’s 5 million contact lens wearers to ‘always wash hands and dry before touching your eye.’

Research into the habits of over 2,000 contact lens wearers found that more than one in four (28 per cent) of contact lens wearers aged 18-24 don’t always wash their hands before handling their contact lenses compared with one in 20 (six per cent) of contact lens wearers aged 65 and over.

Contact lenses are safe when looked after properly, but failure to follow advice about how to wear and care for lenses is associated with increased risk of developing eye infections.

Professor Phillip Morgan, Director of Eurolens Research and Head of Optometry at The University of Manchester, said: “Thoroughly washing and drying hands before applying contact lenses significantly reduces the risk of transferring potentially harmful germs to the eye, making it one of the most important steps for wearers of all types of contact lenses to remember.”

As part of the campaign we have produced an infographic focusing on the top five dos and don’ts for contact lens care. 

The infographic is available exclusively to BCLA members as a tear-off pad, allowing the information to be handed out to patients quickly and easily. This forms part of the suite of resources available to BCLA members, including our ever-popular ‘No Water’ stickers, which can be purchased online.

A full campaign toolkit is available for all practitioners to download from the Love Your Lenses website including a press release template to help you raise your profile in your local community.

Inform your patients of the best ways to ‘love your lenses’ and let’s work together to get the message out to as many people as possible, making a real difference to the UK’s eye health.