Making contact

Aston University optometry students will raise awareness of the importance of contact lens compliance at a World Antibiotic Awareness Week event

15 Nov 2017 by Selina Powell

The good, the bad and the ugly of contact lens wear will be on display at an Aston University event for World Antibiotic Awareness Week.

Aston University lecturer in optometry, Dr Preeti Bhogal-Bhamra, told OT that third-year optometry students will encourage people to take the antimicrobial pledge not to misuse antibiotics.

“The angle that we are taking is contact lens compliance,” Dr Bhogal-Bhamra explained.

“We are trying to increase awareness about what patients should and shouldn’t be doing in order to prevent infections and reduce the need for antibiotics,” she shared.

“Prevention is better than a cure – that is the message we are trying to get out,” Dr Bhogal-Bhamra added.

A stand featuring British Contact Lens Association leaflets and badges will be set up in the main foyer of Aston University for the event on Wednesday, 15 November.

As well as posters showing the consequences of contact lens related infections, students will have the chance to win small prizes by identifying risky contact lens behaviour in a short video clip.

Dr Bhogal-Bhamra highlighted that contact lenses are a medium that can culture bacteria.

“Monthly wearers are at a higher risk, as they are re-using those lenses,” she outlined.

Dr Bhogal-Bhamra observed that the majority of patients she saw in practice would partake in risky behaviour such as sleeping or showering in their contact lenses.

Some patients thought their contact lens habits were fine because they did not notice any problems with their eyes and they didn’t take advice seriously, she shared.

“Risky behaviour will increase the chances of infection and sometimes it can be left too late to save their sight, over 1000 cases of contact lens related microbial keratitis occur in the UK every year and it is all due to poor compliance ” Dr Bhogal-Bhamra warned.

The final message will be for patients to listen to their eye care practitioner’s advice in order to keep their eyes healthy and avoid serious infection, she added. 

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