Are contact lenses part of your daily routine? If so, you’re one of over 30 million Americans that wear contacts on a regular basis. Maybe you wear disposable dailies or change them out every two weeks. You may think that you’re practicing smart eye health, but there are dangers of contacts that you’ve never even considered! Learn what you need to watch out for and how to keep your eyes as safe as possible!
Don’t Sleep In Your Contacts -EVER
This may seem like a no-brainer, but whatever you do: don’t sleep in your contacts! Wearing contacts is a convenient way to see without glasses, but sleeping in them will hurt your eyes. When you forget to take your contacts out, you’re depriving them of oxygen. Oxygen deprived eyes can develop corneal neovascularization, which causes blood vessels in your eyes to grow more than normal. This increase in blood vessels could lead to permanent damage, and you may be unable to ever wear contacts again. Hope you like those glasses!
In addition to an overgrowth of blood vessels, by sleeping in your contacts, your eyes will become extremely irritated. If this is something that you do regularly, you could experience contact lens acute red eye (CLARE). If you have CLARE, your eyes will be painful, red, dry, and sensitive to light. Do it every night and you might find yourself unable to open your eyes one morning because they’ve crusted shut. Just don’t do it.
You May Be Diagnosed With Chronic Dry Eye Syndrome
Even if you’re smart and don’t sleep in them, there are other dangers associated with wearing contacts. Contacts lenses are more likely to cause dry eye. Ever get that scratchy, irritated feeling when you’ve been wearing your contacts all day? This is a perfect example of chronic dry eye! If you suffer from intolerable dry eye, switching to dailies can help keep your eyes moisturized and lubricated.
Unfortunately, if you work in front of a computer for eight or more hours a day, a dry eye with contacts is almost inevitable. Part of the problem comes from staring at screens. When you look at a computer screen, you start blinking less. By blinking less, your eyes feel dried out and uncomfortable. Unless you can get away with reduced screen time, you should consider artificial tears when your contacts feel too dry. They can give you some relief, and re-hydrate your dry eyes. Talk to your eye doctor if dry eye is causing you significant discomfort. You might need a prescription that’s stronger.
You’re More Likely To Get Eye Infections
You may love wearing your contacts, but your eyes probably don’t. There’s definitely something that’s a little bit squeamish about having to put a contact in your eye. If that doesn’t get you, this might. Did you know that people who wear contact lenses are more likely to get eye infections? This is part of why keeping your contacts clean is so important!
Our hands pick up everything, including bacteria. If you’re not washing your hands before putting your contacts in, you could pick up keratitis, which is usually caused by bacteria, viruses, and dust. Keratitis attacks the cornea and leads to blurry vision, redness, and irritated eyes. Avoid this infection by never sleeping in your contacts, taking contacts out when you’re swimming, and practicing good contact lens hygiene. This means keeping your nails short so you aren’t giving bacteria an easy ride into your eyes. You should also avoid getting water in your eyes when wearing contacts since water can actually transport bacteria! Keep your contacts covered when not in use, and always use new contact lens solution when you store them to keep them as clean as possible.
It’s a lot to keep track of, and if you’re tired of living life surrounded by the dangers of contact lenses, it might be time to consider other options, such as LASIK surgery. Schedule a LASIK consultation at Cutarelli Vision with Dr. Paul Cutarelli today!