Don't overuse your contact lenses; follow these tips to prevent eye infections and complications
Contact lenses should not be used more than the number of days that are designed to be used. Here's how you can prevent eye infections.
Contact lenses are thin lenses that rest directly on the surface of the eye. They are the preferred choice for many over glasses due to a range of reasons. Contact lenses not only provide all-round vision compared to conventional glasses, but they are also easy to use, and convenient when it comes to playing sports. Wearing them can also make teens and children feel better about their appearance and this can also help improve their performance and participation in sports. Contact lenses should however be used with care as there is also a risk of microbial infections, corneal ulcers, eye infections, and even blindness. Contact lenses should not be used more than the number of days that are designed to be used. The disposal of contact lenses can range from daily, weekly to monthly or yearly. One should also avoid overusing contact lenses and as per medical advice the hours can extend to 8-12 hours. (Also read: Can castor oil treat poor vision, glaucoma? Experts reveal the truth)
"It is estimated that over 150 million people worldwide are using contact lenses. Contact lenses are being used for correcting vision, for aesthetic or cosmetic reasons to improvise the colour of the iris and eye. Contact lenses are also being used for therapeutic indication where impending corneal perforation, non-healing corneal neurotrophic ulcers etc is required in specific cases. Contact lenses provide better peripheral vision as compared to conventional glasses. Hence, many sports person outdoor activity professionals prefer contact lenses more than the normal conventional glasses," says Dr. Nikhil Seth, Senior Consultant, Ophthalmology, Marengo Asia Hospitals Faridabad, explaining the benefits of contact lenses.
Complications related to contact lenses
There are some complications associated with use of contact lenses. Contact lenses are generally safe as long as these are being used correctly.
"It’s estimated that around 5% of wearers usually face complications every year. Now that damages to the contact lenses where is which start from eyelid to the conjunctival surface and up to the cornea. So, the main issue with contact lenses is poor lens care. If we are not using contact lenses properly, not taking care of contact lenses and its solution, it is being infiltrated by bacteria, fungus and some microorganisms like acanthamoeba. These lead to the more dreaded complications of the eye including cornea, threat of the loss of the vision and contact lens intolerance," says Dr Seth.
Things to keep in mind to prevent these complications:
- Remember proper wearing schedule of contact lenses
- Make sure you do not sleep with contact lenses on as it may lead to the complication of contact lenses over the cornea.
- It is advisable to refrain from overuse of contact lenses. Number of hours being advised usually is 8 hours per day. In some lenses, extended wearing contact lenses could be 10-12 hours per day also. But it should not be used more than.
- Contact lenses should not be used more than the number of days that are designed to be used. So, the disposal of contact lenses some are daily or weekly or monthly or yearly. That schedule should be tightly taken care of so that overuse of contact lenses can’t lead to complications of cornea which can be very bad for your vision or cornea clarity.
How contact lenses cause dry eye syndrome
Wearing contact lenses for long hours can block oxygen supply to cornea and this can cause dry eyes. It is important to remove your contact lenses from time to time and let your eyes get some fresh oxygen.
"Cornea is the only structure in the body which takes its oxygen supply from the atmosphere. Henceforth it is transparent.
So, if it is being used for a few hours a day, then rest of the time our cornea recovers by taking the oxygen. But problem comes when we use extended hours of the day, therefore with time our cornea doesn’t get enough oxygen from the atmosphere and hence slowly and gradually it leads to the complications where because of the decreased oxygenation of the cornea, corneal transparency gives way and complications start to occur including dry eye syndrome," says Dr Seth.
Risk of eye infection due to long hours of contact lens use
Wearing contact lenses for long hours makes your cornea susceptible to the infection where bacteria, fungus and microorganisms and this can develop into corneal infection. If they grow over the cornea which is transparent, your cornea may lose that transparency. Henceforth eye becomes red, painful, irritable, and foggy vision, loss of vision and at times permanent scarring of the cornea also occurs.
How to tackle long term complications
Long term complication of the overuse of the contact lenses (for than 10 hours per day) is decreased corneal thickness and increased corneal curvature.
"Usually, these types of medical complications occur in contact lens users who are using it for more than 5 years and continuously more than 8-9 hours per day. It is always advisable to discontinue contact lenses in between so that your cornea gets some rest, some rejuvenation and some reoxygenation. Henceforth you can safeguard your cornea till you want to use contact lenses without any complications," says Dr Seth