Contact lenses are a great medical device that help millions of people see clearly. They have come a long way. In terms of breath-ability, wear-ability, and comfort. But, there are real sight-threatening dangers associated with wearing contacts too long that you need to know about!
So what’s the big deal?
Leaving contacts in for too long, or worse yet, sleeping in them is unsafe. Contact lenses are simply not designed to withstand either of these negligent practices. The longer a contact is worn, the less oxygen the eye receives. This is because the way the cornea is designed, it must receive oxygen directly from the air, and a contact lens inhibits this process. Wearing contacts too long is called ‘overwear’, and it can result in some fairly serious issues.
Symptoms of wearing contacts too long!
It goes without saying, the eye needs adequate oxygen to properly function! Without it, contact wearers can suffer a number of brutal side effects from overwear such as:
- Eye pain
- Blurred vision
- Photophobia (light sensitivity)
- Red eye
- Excessive tearing
- Overgrowth of surrounding blood vessels
- Eye ulcer
- Irritated eyes
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms from contact lens overwear, Dr. Sharma recommends patients visit their family eye doctor. An optometrist can further advise on how to treat the issue depending on your specific situation. However, you are usually advised to stop wearing contacts temporarily. An examination of the eye will be done to assess the degree of inflammation, and a topical medication or steroid, if any, will be recommended.
Once you get the okay from your optometrist to wear contacts again, it is important that a contact lens fitting and perhaps some additional instruction be carried out.
How do I care for my contacts?
It’s important that you properly use and care for your contacts. Although there are many different types of contacts, generally you should:
- Use contacts according to the period prescribed
- Handle contacts with good hygiene
- Disinfect contacts as recommended
- See an optometrist for regular eye exams
It’s important that you pay particular attention to the last point mentioned. Without a regular eye exam, eye diseases and conditions can go undiagnosed. A proactive approach is the best approach when it comes to your eyes. At Inner Harbour Optometry we do our very best to ensure patients are meeting their regular eye exam appointments because we know it can save your eyesight!
If you are unsure about how to care for your specific contact lens brand, book a contact lens teaching session. One of our staff will be able to re-educate you on how to properly wear and use your contacts.
We are your local Victoria Optometrist Clinic!