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Risks of Wearing Contacts

Wearing contact lenses puts you at risk of several serious conditions including eye infections and corneal ulcers. These conditions can develop very quickly and can be very serious. In rare cases, these conditions can cause blindness.

You cannot determine the seriousness of a problem that develops when you are wearing contact lenses. You have to get help from an eye care professional to determine your problem.

If you experience any symptoms of eye irritation or infection,

  • remove your lenses immediately and do not put them back in your eyes.
  • contact your eye care professional right way.
  • don't throw away your lenses. Store them in your case and take them to your eye care professional. He or she may want to use them to determine the cause of your symptoms.

Symptoms of Eye Irritation or Infection:

  • discomfort
  • excess tearing or other discharge
  • unusual sensitivity to light
  • itching, burning, or gritty feelings
  • unusual redness
  • blurred vision
  • swelling
  • pain

Serious Hazards of Contact Lenses

Symptoms of eye irritation can indicate a more serious condition. Some of the possible serious hazards of wearing contact lenses are corneal ulcers and eye infections.

Corneal ulcers are open sores in the outer layer of the cornea. They are usually caused by infections. You can reduce your chances of infection if:

  • you replace your contact lens storage case every 3-6 months
  • you clean and disinfect your lenses properly
  • you always use fresh contact lens solution and avoid non-sterile water (distilled water and tap water are not sterile and should not be used)
  • you never reuse contact lens solution
  • you remove your contact lenses before swimming.

Any lenses worn overnight increase your risk of infection. Even lenses that are designed to be worn overnight (extended-wear contact lenses) increase your risk. When worn overnight, contact lenses reduce the amount of oxygen that gets to the cornea. This stresses and damages the surface of the cornea known as the epithelium. Germs can grow more rapidly in stressed corneas.

Other Risks of Contact Lenses

Other risks of contact lenses include

  • pink eye
  • corneal abrasions
  • eye irritation

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