Medical News Today reports that 1,200 of the three million people who wear contact lenses in the UK each year are diagnosed with microbial keratitis, an infection of the cornea which can greatly affect vision.

According to Southampton General Hospital consultant ophthalmologist Parwez Hossain, such cases tend to rise during summer and the holidays. "Although we are making progress in terms of general understanding of the importance of contact lens care, we almost always see an increase in infections when people return from holiday, particularly if they have been to very hot countries," he explains.

These infections are mostly due to poor lens hygiene such as washing lenses with tap water and swimming or showering without removing them. Exposure to anything other than the prescribed solution also invites moisture-loving bacteria to the lenses that could infect the eyes. Other causes of eye infection include re-using solutions and placing lens solutions in direct sunlight for long periods of time.

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"If people aren't able to adhere to the strict safety standards required when wearing lenses, or don't want to be concerned about their eye health when relaxing on holiday, their best and safest option is to take a break and stick to prescription glasses and sunglasses," Hossain adds.

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(Photo by AngryJulieMonday via Flickr Creative Commons)

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