Dangers Of Contact Lenses From Improper Care

By Delialah Falcon. May 7th 2016

Many individuals with vision problems enjoy the freedom that contact lenses provide. Instead of being forced to worry about a cumbersome and often uncomfortable pair of glasses, individuals with either nearsightedness or farsightedness can pop in a pair of contacts and improve their vision with almost no hassle. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the vision-impaired population is unaware that there are many risks and dangers associated with contact lenses. While many of these dangers are a result of incorrect usage or bad contact lens habits, some of the dangers are not caused by any action or lack of action on the part of the consumer. If you wear contact lenses, it is important to be informed about the dangers of contact lenses and the ways in which you can avoid any complications.

Dangers Associated With Contact Lenses

Contact lenses may boost your confidence and help you be more active, but they can also be extremely dangerous. Here are some things you should know about the hidden dangers of contact lenses:

  • They can be dangerous when not used correctly.
  • Contact lenses can be breeding grounds for dangerous bacteria that can cause severe eye infections.
  • Rinsing your contact lenses with a contact lens solution can remove some impurities, but over the counter solutions rarely eliminate all the germs and bacteria on the lens surface.
  • Wearing contact lenses too often can also cause the blood vessels in your cornea to rise to the surface of the eye. Because these vessels are not receiving enough oxygen, they must drift closer and closer to the surface to absorb oxygen through the lenses. This vessel drift can cause infection or even weaken the capillaries and cause them to burst which robs the eye of life-sustaining oxygen.

The Dangers Of Cosmetic Contact Lenses

Cosmetic contact lenses, or contact lenses that feature colors or designs and are worn for image rather than medical necessity, are even more dangerous than traditional contact lenses. Because cosmetic lenses feature dyes and designs, the lens is often thicker than a traditional contact lens, which can result in even more oxygen deprivation. Cosmetic contact lenses that are not professionally fitted to the eye can actually change the shape of the cornea and cause severe vision problems with extended use.

Signs Of Complications

You can usually tell rather quickly if you are experiencing complications from your contact lenses. When you apply a lens to the surface of the eye, you should feel it only for a second. If you feel sharp pain or itchiness when you put your contacts in, that may signal an eye complication. If your eyes appear red or bloodshot, you may be experiencing contact lens complications. Signs of possible complication with a contact lens include:

  • Swelling
  • Temporary blindness
  • Blurry vision
  • Dark vision spots
  • Headaches

Proper Cleaning And Usage To Avoid Complications

One of the easiest ways to avoid any complications with your contact lenses is to use them exactly the way your optometrist instructed you to. For some, that means discarding the current pair of contacts and replacing them with a new pair on a regular basis. Some individuals purchase contact lenses that are intended to be worn for only a single day. Wearing these lenses for an extended period of time can cause problems. Others purchase contact lenses that are designed to be worn for several months. These contact lenses have special cleaning instructions.

A specially designed enzyme tablet is usually dissolved in saline solution and the contact is then soaked in this solution. This enzyme can remove the buildup of calcium and protein on the surface of the lens. If contact lenses are cleaned and used according to the manufacturer's instructions, the majority of complications can be avoided.

When To Consult A Physician

Even if you clean your contacts regularly and wear them correctly, complications can still arise. Understanding the symptoms will help you determine when it's time to consult a physician. If you ever experience any pain or discomfort when wearing your contacts, you should always take them out and let your eyes rest. Sometimes small scratches or abrasions on the surface of the eye can result in pain when contacts are worn. Usually, these abrasions are not serious and will disappear after a few days of wearing glasses. However, if you ever experience any loss of vision, severe eye redness, eye swelling or oozing, prolonged eye itchiness or severe eye pain, you should consult your physician at once.

Because contact lenses are placed directly on the surface of the eye, there is always an increased chance of complications that can cause serious vision problems and even result in blindness. However, contact lenses can be a convenient alternative to glasses if they are worn correctly and properly cared for.


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