Summer hygiene tips to look after our sight and hearing
FREEDOM Day is nearly here but that doesn’t mean we should relax our hand washing and sanitising standards.
It is important we maintain our hygiene levels to look after our health, and that includes our sight and hearing.
Specsavers clinical services director, Giles Edmonds, and chief audiologist, Gordon Harrison, are sharing their top tips and advice when it comes to our glasses, contact lenses, ear wax and protecting hearing aids.
Handling contact lenses
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of hand hygiene – especially when it comes to touching our face and eyes.
Research shows that although 85% of people think they comply with contact lens hygiene advice, only 32% of people actually take proper care of their lenses, which means the majority of wearers are potentially putting their eye health at risk.
Giles says: ‘It’s important that good hygiene is always followed when handling contact lenses. You wouldn’t put something dirty into your mouth so why would you do the same with your eyes? Clean, dry hands should always be used when putting in and taking out lenses.
‘Wash your hands carefully and thoroughly with soap and water followed by drying them with unused paper towels. Extra attention should also be given to the tips of your fingers and thumb, as these are the parts that tend to touch the lens more. Always rub, rinse and store your lenses in the recommended solution too.’
Giles advises to make sure you are continuing to empty your lens case of old solution each morning, rinse it out with fresh solution and let it air-dry upside down on clean tissue – and replace your case each month.
Other tips to help keep eyes free from bacteria and infection include:
- Don’t share your contact lenses
- Don’t sleep in your lenses unless you’ve been advised to do so
- Don’t use tap water or any other water on your lenses or case
- Apply your lenses before putting on makeup
- Don’t swim with your lenses in
- Keep your eyes closed when using hairspray
- Don’t wear your lenses in the shower
For glasses wearers
Giles says: ‘Just like washing your hands, it is good practice to also make sure you are cleaning your glasses regularly – especially if you are taking them on and off throughout the day or putting them down on a surface.
‘The best way to do this is by using a solution that contains detergent to help kill surface microbes, making sure nose pads and sides are also cleaned and dried with a clean cloth – which is washed regularly in 60 degree machine wash with clothes and replaced when no longer effective. And, when putting glasses back on, make sure your hands are clean.’
Some people may be tempted to use hand sanitiser on their glasses in an attempt to kill germs, however those who do should be cautious.
He says: ‘An anti-bacterial hand sanitiser will help to rid your glasses of potentially harmful surface particles, but do avoid contact with your glasses’ lenses, as some ingredients may affect the quality of the lens’ surface. It’s also likely to smear or leave streaks on your lenses unless properly rinsed and dried. And, as anti-bacterial hand sanitisers are likely to contain alcohol, it’s important that you avoid contact with the eyes as it may cause irritation. To help avoid this, use a glasses cleaning liquid or a diluted pH neutral hand wash.’
How to combat more earwax
When it is hot it may seem like we get more earwax, but we could be causing serious damage if we try to remove it ourselves. Gordon says: ‘Warmer weather may mean we sweat more and as wax is made up of a mixture of dead skin cells, cerumen and sebum (which contains sweat), it is possible that an increase in sweat may lead to more ear wax.
‘If this does occur, never try to remove wax yourself, especially with cotton buds, as sticking anything smaller than your elbow in your ear could cause serious damage, lead to impacted wax or perforate your ear drum. Instead, always see your audiologist who will be able to remove this safely.’
He adds: ‘It is, however, also important to keep your ears clean. You should regularly wipe around the outside of your ear, particularly after showering or washing your face.’
Look after your hearing aids
Many people who wear hearing aids do not realise that their devices could be affected by warmer weather.
Gordon says: ‘Spending more time outside wearing hearing aids may result in more debris blocking up aid microphones, so it is important they are cleaned regular to ensure good sound quality. The heat could also affect your aid in other ways depending on the type of device too. Modern hearing aids are water resistant and dust tight, however, some older devices do not have the same level of protection, so it is vital you look after them well.
‘If you wear a hearing aid with electronic components in the ear then sweat may lead to a breakdown. Therefore, it is important to take your aids out at night and use a stay dry pot to remove any excess moisture to keep them working as well as possible for as long as possible. The same should be done for over the ear hearing aids which have tubes as you might get some sweat condensing in them.’
For more information or to book an appointment with your optician or audiologist visit: www.specsavers.co.uk