A common misconception is the unquestioning belief that contacts are far safer than a laser eye surgery like LASIK. In reality, this is just not true– contacts can pose some serious risks to your eye health if not used properly.
Contact Lens Risks
Infection and Corneal Ulcers
Improper contact lens care can result in an eye infection if you’re not careful. If left untreated, infections can go past simple eye irritation and cause major issues like corneal ulcers. A corneal ulcer is an open sore on the cornea. They can be caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal infections.
Contact lens wearers are at an increased risk of corneal ulcers. Especially for those using extended-wear contact lenses worn for extended periods of time without any removal. The extended use of contact lenses can trap dirt and bacteria underneath the lens, scratch your cornea, and block oxygen to the cornea- all of which can make a user more vulnerable to infection.
A steady flow of oxygen to your cornea is essential for overall eye health. Since a contact lens sits on your cornea, it inevitably decreases the amount of oxygen allowed to flow through. This decreased oxygen uptake can potentially cause changes to the outer surface of your cornea and put you at increased risk for infection.
Showering or Swimming in Contact Lenses
Do not shower or swim while wearing your contacts. When your contact lenses come into contact with water, you are at risk of infection. Most water sources, whether it be the public pool, a lake, or simply tap water, contain bacteria or micro-organisms that can cause infections and possible corneal ulcers.
The most serious water-caused issue is called Acanthamoeba Keratitis. This eye infection is called by tiny amoeba called acanthamoeba which are commonly found in water sources. Left untreated, this serious infection can lead to vision loss and possibly a corneal transplant.
Tips for Reducing Contact Lens Risks
- Wash your hands thoroughly before handling contact lenses
- Never use tap water or saliva to clean, lubricate, or store your lenses
- Do not wear your contact lenses while you sleep. You should instead properly remove and keep in a disinfecting solution overnight.
- Do not ignore irritated eyes or symptoms. If your eyes are irritated, remove your contacts and contact your doctor.
- Discard and replace your contact lenses when directed by your doctor
An Alternative: LASIK or SMILE Laser Eye Surgery
For those ready to live their life free from the worry or hassle of contacts, laser vision correction is a safe and reliable option. Today is an exciting time in the field of vision correction surgery. From LASIK to implantable contact lenses, there’s a treatment option to help just about everyone with conditions such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), cataracts, astigmatism, and even difficulty with reading vision (presbyopia).
If you’re ready to learn more about which laser vision correction is right for you, call or schedule your complimentary consultation today.