Contact lenses are a great alternative to glasses, since they can help you see clearly. However, they are medical devices so handling your contact lenses requires maturity and responsibility. Many problems can arise if one does not take proper care of their contact lenses.

What problems can contact lenses cause?

These are a few problems that can occur if you do not take care of your contact lenses:

Bacterial eye infections


Keeping your hands and contact lenses sterile

You can get a bacterial infection if you don't wash your hands properly, or if you don't change your solutions often enough. Keeping a sterile environment is essential when dealing with contact lenses, washing your hands thoroughly before inserting or removing contacts lenses will ensure that the bacteria from your fingers does not transfer to your eye and contact lens. With contacts it is important to ensure a sterile environment because once you put the contact lens in your eye, the bacteria can grow on the lens. It can cause a bacterial infection which can result in pain and scarring. Once the infection is healed, it can lead to a scar in your visual axis which can reduce your vision. So we don't want any of that to ever happen!

Storing your contact lenses in a sterile environment

When you wear a biweekly or monthly lens and you store them in a case. Even if you have a new lens, if you don't change the case every two to three months, then there can be bacteria that grows on it. Once you take the contact lens from the case and put it on your eye, this can also be another source of bacterial infection. Keeping your contact lens clean and making sure that you clean your hands as well as everything else around you is essential.

Hypoxia-Making sure your eyes get enough oxygen

If you sleep with your contact lenses you might also experience something called hypoxia, which is when your eyes lack oxygen, causing them to swell and begin to grow new blood vessels, which can really affect your vision. In general, our eyes obtain oxygen from the air around us. However, when we put a contact lens over our eye, the amount of oxygen that can get into the eye is reduced. Therefore, it is extremely important to use a contact lens that has a high oxygen permeability. This is also why it is extremely important that you get a contact lens exam before purchasing contact lenses. Because that exam will make sure that your eye doctor is giving you contact lenses that are fitting properly on your eyes. A good fit means that the contact lens is not too tight, and that you have the right type of lens, meaning you have a lens that allows for a lot of oxygen permeability, which will reduce problems of this sort. Sleeping with contact lenses in your eye may cause your eyes to swell the next morning and cause hazy vision. It is therefore important to remove your contact lenses before going to bed.
Even if you are following these instructions, it is recommended that you allow for some time during the evening or one day per week when you wear glasses instead of contact lenses. This allows for your eyes to get more oxygen, further reducing your risk of hypoxia.

Allergic reaction

There is also the possibility of an allergic reaction to the contact lenses. Various brands and types of contact lenses are available. They are made of different technologies and different materials. Therefore, one type of contact lens may not be the best one for your eyes. When you go for a contact lens exam the eye doctor may send you home with a trial pair of lenses, and often you will be scheduled for a follow up to ensure that you are not experiencing any sensitivity to the materials or lens type.

Scratched cornea

It is also possible to accidentally scratch your cornea when handling your contact lenses. Therefore, if you have long nails, you should be careful when handling your contact lenses, so that you don't accidentally scratch your eyes. Typically, it is treated with an antibiotic because it's an open wound. Using preservative-free artificial tears will prevent any kind of infection from entering your eye. Corneas usually heal fairly quickly, but it's important to make sure that there isn't any scarring that's left over later.

How to avoid contact lens problems?

All of these problems can easily be avoided if you simply are responsible, maintain proper contact lens hygiene, and get your contact lenses fitted by an eye care professional to ensure that the lenses are sitting correctly on your eye. Even if you followed all the steps above, if you experience any discomfort from your contact lenses, remove them and schedule a contact lens follow up appointment to make sure that there are no complications that result from your lenses.

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