What Problems Can Contact Lenses Cause?
Contact lenses are an excellent alternative to constantly wearing glasses. However, they also require additional care and hygiene to ensure optimal eye health and freedom from complications.
When beginning contact lens wear, it is thus vital to follow all instructions from our eye doctors and staff and from your contact lens brand. This article will explain some possible issues with contact lens wear and what can be done to prevent them.
Contact Lens Irritation
A common complaint with contact lens wearers is dryness or irritation in the eyes, especially after wearing the lenses for several hours.
These symptoms are more annoying than actually damaging to the eyes, but fortunately contact lens companies are always coming out with new technologies to mitigate these issues.
If you visit our optometrist for an issue like this, they may recommend artificial tear use to decrease dryness throughout the day or change something about your lenses, like the material, cleaning solution, design, or wearing schedule.
For example, if you are wearing a monthly lens, you might be recommended to change to a daily lens as a fresh lens each day will often reduce the incidence of these issues.
If other underlying causes for the irritation or dryness exist, like allergies or various causes of dry eyes like inadequate tear fluid production or quality, these will be managed by eye doctor to improve your symptoms and contact lens wear experience.
Contact Lens Related Red Eye
Beyond mild discomfort, if you are experiencing symptoms such as excessive pain, red eyes, discharge, reduced vision, or light sensitivity then immediately stop contact lens wear and see our optometrist.
These symptoms may result from infection or inflammation that can permanently affect your vision if left untreated. Red and painful eyes like this in a contact lens wearer can result from overwearing the lenses, either past their recommended replacement schedule or while sleeping if they are not approved for this purpose.
Contact lenses undergo rigorous testing and are meant to be used only in the specific conditions that the manufacturer specifies, so again it is extremely important to follow these instructions exactly. Wearing the lenses too long can starve the cornea of oxygen, leading to inflammation.
If you visit one of our eye doctors during this stage, they will advise you to discontinue all contact lens wear and may provide combination antibiotic anti-inflammatory eye drop medications and lubricants. This will prevent infection, calm down the inflammation, and speed recovery.
It is important to note that even if you find your symptoms have reduced, continue to use medications as instructed by our optometrist to ensure a full recovery. You may be out of contact lenses for several weeks until you can return to normal wear.
Infections from Contact Lenses
A corneal infection or corneal ulcer is considered an ocular emergency and needs to be treated immediately. This condition is often associated with extreme pain, a red eye, light sensitivity and pus discharge.
Treatment includes very frequent antibiotic drop and ointment use, with anti-inflammatory medications after the initial insult has settled to reduce irreversible scarring of the front surface of the eye. If caught early, permanent vision loss can usually be prevented but in some cases, regardless of the treatment, irreversible scarring may occur.
If you are ever experiencing consistent irritation, red eyes, or pain, immediately stop wearing your contact lenses and book an appointment with one of our optometrists.
You can schedule your next appointment with us online!