Recent reports have surfaced across the internet about a college student losing her vision by the overuse of contact lenses. These reports have become a public service announcement to every person who wears contact lenses about the importance of following instructions given by their optometrist and the risks involved by straying from them. Although contact lenses are a miracle to use for many, they are a hazard to the health of your eyes if not treated like a proper medical device.
Contact lenses are, essentially, a piece of plastic on your eye that reduces the amount of oxygen to your cornea by more than half. This restriction of oxygen causes your eyes to experience a form of fatigue by the end of the day. Dust and debris from the air start to collect in-between the contact lens and your cornea, making the surface of your cornea gritty and exposed to infection. This is when the health of the eye is at the epitome of risk for damage.
The previously mentioned patient irreversible damaged her cornea because of a condition called Acanthamoeba keratitis. The condition is a rare case of infection due to a common amoeba called Acanthamoeba that exists in the air, soil, dust and water. This amoeba thrives in low oxygen environments with bacteria, making infected contact lenses the perfect place. The amoeba adheres to the corneal epithelium and penetrates Bowman’s layer, eating away the stroma and the rest of the cornea. Common symptoms of this infection are eye pain, redness, blurred vision and sensitivity to light.
In this recent news story, the amoeba ate away the cornea which led to loss of vision and blindness. By not removing her contact lenses for 6 months, she put her eyes in danger of infection.
Practicing proper contact lens care is the #1 way to prevent infection! Here are some tips to keep your eyes healthy when wearing contact lenses:
2.Clean and store contact lenses in proper cleaning solutions (multipurpose, hydrogen peroxide solution, NOT Saline Solution) to disinfect contact lenses.
3.Never “top off” contact lens solution in case. Always rinse the contact case with SOLUTION and replace old solution with new solution.
4.Dispose of used contact lenses from a prescribed wearing schedule (dailies, 2 week, monthly).
5.When in doubt, remove contact lenses from eyes, wear glasses and schedule an appointment with your optometrist! Your eyes will thank you!
Have any other tips for contact lens wear and safety? Share in the comments below!