May is Healthy Vision Month, so today I want to discuss proper care and use of contact lenses.
Mistreating your contact lenses may lead to devastating loss of vision. I have observed this many times over my years of practice.
Unfortunately, in 1 week, I treated 2 individuals that had improperly cared for or did not wear their lenses as dictated by guidelines. Each had severe ulceration of one of their corneas.
Ulceration is due to infection of the cornea from bacteria, virus, or fungus. It looks like fluffy, white or yellowish cloudiness on the cornea. This will leave a scar, always. If small, and closer to the white part of the eye, vision may not be reduced. However, if close to the pupil and/or large, vision will likely be impaired.
During the infection phase, it is painful, causing extreme redness of the white part of the eye, severe light sensitivity, much tearing of the eyes. Difficult to impossible to perform typical activities like work or school, etc.
Don’t think waiting and putting in any drops from the medicine cabinet will make it go away. Call your eye care professional for early treatment. This will improve the chances of saving your vision.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), published August 18, 2016 indicated 1 in 4 events of corneal damage to contact lens wearers occurred because patients weren't caring for lenses properly, wore them too long, or while they slept.
Further research indicated that an unbelievable 99 percent of surveyed contact lens wearers reported at least one unsafe hygiene behavior.
According to the report, the top 5 worst behaviors are:
- Sleeping or napping in contact lenses (87.1 percent)
- Showering (84.9 percent) or swimming (61 percent) in contact lenses
- Extending the recommended replacement frequency of cases (82.3 percent), or lenses (49.9 percent)
- Topping off disinfecting solution (55.1 percent)
- Rinsing lenses with tap water (35.5 percent)
If you have questions about proper lens use and care, please call the office. We will be pleased to assist you.
#contactlenses #healthyvisionmonth #ulceration