Minimizing the Risk from Contact Lenses

August 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Contact Lenses

In a world that is growing increasingly appearance conscious, millions of people are opting to wear contact lenses. Majority of them do exacting jobs wearing these, without any discomfort. Still, using contacts are not a totally risk free arena since about 4% of users complain of problems. In real numbers it is substantial.

Proper use of contact lenses is the key to safety. Most of the eye problems of contact lens users result from cutting off of the air to the eyes. With contact lenses that had to be removed every night, infection rate was low. With the arrival on the scene of those which can be worn for a week or a month, the problems have increased.

Continuous wearing of contact lens can lead to problems like blurred vision, eye irritation, giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC), and corneal abrasion. GPC is caused by protein buildup on lens surface, and can result in a sticky eye discharge and swollen eyelids. Corneal abrasion can happen even by the minutest material getting trapped between the eye and the contact lens. While proper cleaning can reduce the incidence, even the tiniest airborne particle can give trouble.

In the case of both GPC and corneal abrasion, the wearing of the contact lens should be immediately stopped, and resumed only after complete cure and permission from the doctor to continue wearing the contacts. Often the patient will have to take recourse to antibiotics to control these eye infections resulting from contact lens use. Tiny particles do get into the eye through air or finger contact much of the time. In the case of those not wearing contact lenses, these particles are washed off naturally by the eyelid and tears.

Pollen allergy problems can get aggravated for those wearing contact lenses, leading to eye irritation and redness and tearing. Sometimes the preservatives contained in the solution used for cleaning the contacts can cause eye irritation, especially in the case of soft contact lenses. In such cases, cleaning and storage method of the contact lens might have to be changed.

Shape change of the contacts itself can at times cause problems. Even a contact lens that might have been a perfect fit when bought, may change shape due to wear and tear or heat. The problem, known as Tight Lens Condition, may lead to redness, swelling, and pain of the cornea. Solving the problem may require eye treatment and getting a new set of contact lenses.

And the eyeball or cornea can change shape, even if the contact lenses do not. This problem, known as corneal warpage, can cause infection and eye discomfort. With soft contact lenses, the problem rarely arises, while with hard lenses and gas permeable ones, the chances are more.

This sort of eye problem can become quite complicated and cure and correction may take time. Even after recovery, two glass prescriptions may be necessary for proper vision. In rare instances, it may even lead to permanent astigmatism.

Best care of the contact lenses, based upon the doctor’s guidance, and correctly done insertion, removal, and cleaning of the contacts can minimize the risk and damage to the eye.