Understanding the Serious Consequences of Improper Care of Contact Lenses

Contact lens wearers often underestimate just how important it is to properly care for and handle contact lenses. Many wonder why they can’t wear their contacts a few extra days or whether it would be okay to sleep in their contacts because it would so much more convenient than to have to remove them before bed each night. Some even want to try to reuse their contact lens solution because they’re almost out or have run out of new solution.

Hopefully, you have never actually done any of those things, as they all have serious life-changing consequences. Each of the aforementioned scenarios could cause harmful bacteria to grow in your eyes, and if an infection occurs in the eye, it can result in partial or total loss of vision. Those who wear contact lenses need to be fully aware of the risks of inadequate lens care because the dangers of becoming lazy in your lens care habits can be very serious and severe.

In fact, there was an article published in The Wall Street Journal that outlined some of these dangers. This article even recalled the actions of a 48-year-old woman and the consequences that she suffered as a result of her poor contact lens habits. This woman showered in her lenses, slept in them, and wore them past the expiration date—none of these actions are unbeknownst to contact lens wearers, regardless of the fact that doctors and optometrists recommend otherwise. Eventually, this woman’s bad habits caught up to her. She ended up developing a corneal ulcer that became infected. While the infection was able to clear up thanks to her doctor’s fast treatment, she had a permanent scar on her cornea, which reduced her night vision.

There was another individual’s story told in the article, which was a bit more serious. A male contractor also slept in his contacts. He took them out after work one day due to an irritant. When he woke up the next morning, he was unable to see out of that affected eye. He ended up being diagnosed with Pseudomonas, a specific type of eye infection. Though he was treated with a round of antibiotics, the man is only able to see shapes and light out of the affected eye.

USA Today reports that 99 percent of contact lens wearers have at least one habit when it comes to the use and care of their contacts. Many individuals—like the two mentioned above in the story—often sleep in their contacts, although it is discouraged by professionals. Most people do this so that they are able to see if they get up in the middle of the night, while others do it for the convenience of not having to take them out and put them back in. Regardless of the exact reason, the risks are the same.

Do not make the same mistakes that the two people in The Wall Street Journal story made. For the sake of convenience, you could sacrifice your sight—would it be work it, truly? So, instead, follow the guidelines that your optometrist gives you for the proper care of your contact lenses. Disinfect them on a daily basis with fresh contact lens solution, and wash your hands before handling your contacts. Pay attention to the expiration date on your contact lens box—it’s there for a reason! Follow the wearing instructions given by your eye doctor.

If you have any questions at all, give us a call at Performance Vision.