In America, approximately 64% of the population wears eye glasses regularly, and about 38 million people wear contact lenses, according to Statistic Brain. Contact lenses may be the less noticeable form of vision correction, but the use of lenses does come with certain risks. Contact lens technology has improved in recent years, but if you are a contact lens wearer, then it is still important to know what increases your risks, what the consequences are, and how to find a solution.
Understanding the factors that increase your risk of eye infection.
Not every person who wears contact lenses will experience complications, but there is a 50% chance, according to some studies, that contact lens wearers will. Avoiding or managing the following risks can decrease your chances of developing an infection.
- Wearing contacts while sleeping.
- Using extended-wear contact lenses.
- Poor hygiene or maintenance of lenses, cases, and lens solution.
There are also factors that may not be in your control, such as environmental irritants.
Know the consequences of neglecting treatment.
There are several complications that can result from improper contact lens use, including inflammation, allergic reactions, conjunctivitis, damaged corneas, and of course, infections. The most common type of infection related to contacts lenses is called keratitis, which is an infection that is specific to the cornea. If left untreated, the cornea can become scarred, and may require a transplant in order for vision to be restored.
Know what to do if you do develop an eye infection related to your contact lenses.
Most eye infections produce very clear symptoms, such as irritation, redness, swelling, tearing, dryness, discharge, itching, or blurry vision. Paying a visit to a good optometrist, whenever these symptoms appear, is absolutely crucial. However, not all infections or disorders show symptoms, so regular eye exams are also important. An optometrist will determine a course of treatment, likely via eye drops, and you may have to avoid wearing contacts until your infection has cleared up.
Of course, contact lenses are not the only culprits when it comes to eye infections. People who wear eyeglasses can suffer from conjunctivitis, and patients of LASIK eye surgery are also at risk. The important thing is to know how to manage those risks, and to be cognizant of the potential for permanent damage, and vision loss when infections or complications are left untreated. Corrective lenses may make the world around us clearer, but a simple infection can just as easily take that benefit away. Links like this.