A third of people do not wash their hands before inserting contact lenses

The College of Optometrists surveyed 2000 people to find out about their hygiene habits when using contact lens and eye drops


Almost a third of people do not wash their hands before inserting contact lenses, according to a new survey released to coincide with National Eye Health Week (24–30 September).

The College of Optometrists’ survey, which examined patient’s eye care habits, found that 70% of respondents washed their hands before contact lens insertion and 30% do not.

Respondents also revealed that 47% have never been shown how to use eye drops before and over 50% miss their eye when inserting drops sometimes, or every time.

A total of 26% of eye drop users admitted that sometimes they touch the inside of their eye with the bottle tip, which increases the risk of contamination and, subsequently, eye infections.

Optometrist and clinical adviser for the College of Optometrists, Daniel Hardiman-McCartney, said it is “so important” to practise good hygiene when applying and removing contact lenses and eye drops.

“Washing and drying your hands thoroughly will reduce the chance of acquiring a serious and potentially sight threatening infection,” Mr Hardiman-McCartney shared.

He added that although some people use eye drops for a short period of time, many people who are receiving ongoing treatment for conditions, such as dry eye or glaucoma, might not be getting the full therapeutic benefit.

The survey was carried out in September and had 2000 people respond, of which 395 were contact lens wearers and 1311 had used eye drops for themselves or someone else.

For further information on hand washing hygiene, watch OT's video above, or read the following article