84 percent of people who wear contact lenses think that they can wear them for a longer period of time than advised by their eye care professional. Our warning to you is do not do this! Your contact lenses can break down over time, causing blurred vision and infections. When patients wear their contact lenses for long periods of time and they come in for LASIK or PRK we can see the damage first hand. We see corneal scarring from long term use of contact lenses. Some patients cannot have the LASIK procedure due the damage from wearing their contacts too long.
Symptoms of contact lens related infections can include blurry vision, unusual redness of the eye, pain in the eye, tearing or discharge from the eye, increased light sensitivity or the sensation of a foreign body or something in your eye. If left untreated, some infections can lead to loss of vision. The common factors that can contribute to a contact lens related infection include the use of extended-wear lenses, sleeping in your contact lenses, reduced tear exchange under the lens, environmental factors and poor hygiene, including poor maintenance of contact lens cases or reusing or topping off contact lens solution.
When a patient wears contact lenses it is important to remember that the lens causes changes in the cornea in terms of it’s structure, turnover, tear production and oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. All contact lens wearers needs to be diligent in following the instructions of an eye care provider and care for your lenses and your eyes appropriately. Now that we have made you reasonably nervous about wearing your lenses longer than you should…do not fret! You do have options! You know how there is the saying, “There’s an app for that”…well there is. You can go into Itunes and try the contact lens timer app for 99 cents, or you can come in and see us for a complimentary consultation to see if you are a candidate for LASIK or PRK to rid your self of having to worry about a contact lens related infection ever again!