An Actual Case History
The Importance of Compliance
I first started wearing contact lenses in my final year of high school. They allowed me a greater amount of freedom for my sporting pursuits, as well as having obvious cosmetic benefits. My optometrist was very particular to outline the appropriate handling procedures and cleaning regime, stressing the importance of being compliant in my management of the contact lenses. The lenses provided no problems for the first year and a half, with fairly constant wear in this period, and the occasional night of sleeping in the lenses [against the advice of my optometrist].
By this stage I was at University and starting to feel some financial strains, so I started to store my lenses in the same solution for two days. I bypassed the digital rub step and did not use protein tablets at all. I also started sleeping in my lenses over the weekends. At no stage did I consider that I could be harming my eyes, as the comfort of the lenses was still all right and my vision still seemed to be satisfactory. In fact I hadn’t seen my optometrist for a routine check in over 18 months. I often wish I knew then what I know now regarding contact lens complications. I ended up getting a viral infection in my eyes, which I really struggled to shake for over four months. I have an intolerance to contact lens wear now, and can only wear contact lenses for a maximum of 6 hours before I get red, irritated & gritty eyes! So much for the cosmetic benefits of contact lenses, as I now have to rely mostly on spectacles.
All of this could have been avoided if I was more compliant with my cleaning, replaced my solutions daily, removed my lenses at night and had regular visits to my eye-care practitioner. He was studying a Science degree at the time and was consulting a well know South Island optometrist who was managing his recovery from the viral infection. They had some discussions about optometry as a career and he asked “Is it boring?” That’s how he became involved and today will tell you that optometry and contact lens practice is far from boring and in fact helping people see is a very stimulating and satisfying profession.