People choose to wear contact lenses for several reasons. First, they don’t want to deal with the blurry peripheral vision and weight that come with glasses. They don’t want their corrective lenses to fall off every time they bend over either. And they’d prefer to keep their beautiful faces unobstructed. Glasses don’t fit with their comfort preferences or their style.
Instead, these people opt for contact lenses. But in doing so, they trade one set of advantages and disadvantages for another set. Sure, contact lenses look great, stay put, and give you 360 degrees of sharp vision-but they also come with their own risks and dangers.
Luckily, as long as you know how to avoid these dangers, you don’t have to worry about harming your eyes. Have a look at the list of risks below so you know how to fortify your eyes against contact-related hazards.
When certain foreign microorganisms enter your eye, you can contract an eye infection. Usually, you introduce these foreign microorganisms by rubbing or touching your eyes without washing your hands first. Unfortunately, since you use your fingers to apply your contact lenses, your ocular tissues can encounter more microorganisms than usual when you wear contacts.
Normally, your eyes can deal with these invaders through tears and other defense mechanisms. However, when you wear contacts, the plastic lens over your cornea doesn’t let in as many tears. When one part of your eye lacks the same defenses as the rest, infection becomes more likely.
Additionally, contact lenses can trap microorganisms next to your cornea, and that space between the lens and your eye creates the perfect breeding ground for whatever bacteria or virus species you come in contact with.
Fortunately, while this information may sound alarming, you don’t have to worry about developing eye infections as long as you take the steps listed below:
- Only wear your contacts during the day. Your eyes need a rest at night, as well as a few hours with full access to tears. Your body can cleanse your eyes during this time.
- Wash your hands with soap and dry them on a clean, lint-free cloth before you touch your eyes. Even if your contacts have something caught underneath them or have torn, wash your hands quickly before removing the lenses. Just remember to blink carefully in the meantime.
- Clean your contact lenses and their case daily. Even if you wash your hands before handling your contacts, bacteria in the air could still land on the plastic. And your contact case needs cleaning too, especially if you keep it in the bathroom where it easily comes into contact with bacteria. Clean both your lenses and their case daily with contact solution.
- Replace your contact lenses as your optometrist directs. You might think you can stretch your monthlies to two months or more, but don’t do it. As contacts age, they develop calcium and other deposits that could irritate or even tear your eye, which lets in infection even more easily. Tears in the lenses could also damage your eyes and let bacteria in.
- Don’t shower with your contact lenses in. All water, including the water in your shower, contains microorganisms. And when you wear your contacts in the shower, that water gets trapped between your lenses and your eyes and holds the contaminants there. The water could also make your lenses swell and cause damage that increases your risk for infection.
- Don’t store your lenses in water or any other substance. Even if you run out of contact solution, don’t place your lenses in water or another liquid. You’ll find it well worth the effort to go out and purchase more solution.
Infections can have painful or permanent consequences. But as long as you follow these tips, you shouldn’t have to worry about them.
- Inadequate Oxygen Supply
Unlike the rest of your body, your eyes only partially rely on your lungs and your bloodstream for oxygen. If they relied on your lungs completely, the whites of your eyes would appear red because of their numerous blood vessels.
However, your eyes partially take their oxygen from the air around them. Your contacts allow some airflow through them, but your eyes still don’t receive as much oxygen as they would if you didn’t wear contacts. So your eye’s tissues may suffer and sustain damage if they don’t get enough air.
To ensure your eyes get the necessary oxygen, make sure you do the following:
- Take your contacts out at night so your eyes can breathe.
- Replace your lenses on the timetable your optometrist gave you. Calcium buildups on the lenses make them less oxygen permeable than usual.
- Switch to soft silicone hydrogel or hard gas-permeable lenses-these contacts transmit more oxygen.
The more oxygen your eyes receive, the better their fortifications against infections and other problems.
- Allergic Reactions
Contacts contribute to allergies in a few ways. First, pollen floating in the air can become trapped between the lens and your eye, so you’ll develop a reaction faster. Simply remove the contact and clean it, and take antihistamines to get some relief.
However, you can also become allergic to contact solution (particularly off-brand solution) and the contacts themselves. If you develop an allergy, shop for brand-name solutions with different ingredients than the one you used previously. You can also ask your optometrist which solution he or she recommends.
Contact lenses may come with different risks than glasses, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear them safely. Keep the tips above in mind and protect your eyes against damage. And if you have any other questions about eye health, check out the rest of our blog.