As the summer festival season kicks off, a Sheffield optometrist is calling on contact lens wearers to take extra precautions to help prevent any risk of infection that can come with using contact lenses at festivals.
The advice from eye health care professional Alex Gage comes as the Association of Optometrists issues advice for contact lens users with the festival season in mind.
Typically, the difficultly in maintaining high levels of hygiene at festivals goes hand in hand with public toilets and few cleaning facilities, thus increasing the risk of infection.
Alex, who owns practices in Woodseats and Crosspool in Sheffield, said while contact lenses can be a good option for festivals, he would urge users to be prepared and take the right kit.
“We’ve hit the summer music season with great festivals on our doorstep such as the Y Not Festival taking place in the Peak District at the end of the month” Alex added, “Festival-goers who use contact lenses need to make sure they do not touch their contact lenses or eyes with dirty hands. They also need to be prepared for all situations, whether that is long days, lack of sleep, dehydration and even impromptu swimming!
“Daily disposable users should take spare changes of lenses with them and non-daily users should take one case containing fresh solution and another clean case to leave in your tent. It’s crucial that users do not store contact lenses in anything but proper contact lens solution.
“While it’s tempting to nap with contact lenses, it’s essential to remove them even if just for a few hours, unless they are extended wear lenses.”
He pointed out that while anyone who is concerned about any eye problems on their return from a festival should get in touch with their optometrist, people should find out where they go on-site should they need immediate medical attention if they have a serious eye concern.
“You might find yourself in unexpected situations at festivals and while we want everyone to have fun, it’s important that contact lens wearers are aware of the risks of an amoeba called Acanthamoeba when enjoying hot tubs or swimming in lakes.
“It’s a nasty organism that can get trapped underneath the contact lens and cause a serious and very painful eye infection. To avoid any risk, take your contact lenses out before you go into the water.”
The Association of Optometrists recommends contact lens users take along the following: antibacterial gel or wipes, spare lenses, glasses, contact lens solution and two cases if not using disposables, contact lens rewetting drops, a small mirror and a bottle of water.
If you have any further questions or concerns about wearing contact lenses at festivals, and for further information about the services available at Alex Gage Family Optometrist, please contact Alex Gage at 857 Chesterfield Road, Woodseats on 0114 274 8582 or at 48 Sandygate Road, Crosspool on 0114 266 7066.