Evolution of contact lenses has come a long way in terms of ease of use, wearability, breathability, rectification of discomfort to eyes. But wearing contact lenses for long-term has its side effects if not worn with care. You cannot name anything developed by humans which does not have adverse effects and contact lenses are one of them. There is no doubt, that wearing them adds to glamour, an ease of use in comparison to glasses, but any negligence is harmful to eyes. The harmful effects of contact lenses are due to artificial lenses taking place of damaged natural God gifted lenses.
The usage of the lens comes with instructions which cannot be overlooked for keeping eyes healthy, which if not followed will result in their harmful effects. On the basis of the experience of using contact lenses for 10+ years, I am listing out some common and rare side effects caused due to negligence on our part
“Overwear” of contact lenses
What happens if you wear contact lenses too long called “Overwear”?
The lens covering cornea of eye needs oxygen from air directly to keep healthy but the lens obstructs flow leading to a decrease in the supply of necessary oxygen. As the duration of usage of contact lenses exceeds, the supply of oxygen to eye reduces. In order to keep cornea healthy either avoid contact lenses for a longer duration at a stretch and go for lens type which easily transmits oxygen. Also check with your eye doctor and adhere to the wearing schedule he recommends. Common symptoms of wearing contact lens for long enough are – pain/irritability in eyes, fuzzy vision, red eye, photophobia to name a few
“Dry Eyes Syndrome”
“Dry Eyes Syndrome” is one of the most common contact lenses side effects. Those who wear contact lens face Dryness of eyes frequently. This happens because the lens absorb tears getting into the cornea to keep itself moist and soft and dryness leads to itchy eyes, irritability, redness. One should not neglect this alert because the extreme situation may cause cornea getting scarred. The eyes can be kept lubricated by eye drops and/or a splash of cold water. Low humidity also complicates to Dry Eyes by reducing the oxygen reaching cornea and affecting the quality of vision and the wearer’s capacity to withstand lens
Another harmful effect of contact lenses – “Red Eyes” syndrome may turn out to be serious if not attended in the initial stages. It may be attributed to different reasons or a combination of them like pollution, allergy, changes in humidity level, excessive dust-laden atmosphere, infection, deposits on the lens not being cleaned and stored properly
Conjunctivitis and/ or Stye prone
Also there is a high risk of getting infected with Conjunctivitis when using lenses for much longer duration than suggested and particularly during the night. This happens due to lack of oxygen supply to the cornea, the ability to fight off infection reduces and the probability of getting infected with microorganisms and bacteria increases.
Natural corneal reflex actions
Due to the artificial nature of contact lenses, natural corneal reflexes of eyes gets diminished leading to slower response time to objects directed towards eye. In order to minimize the impact, it is best suggested to use spectacles wherever possible.
Corneal Abrasion syndrome
A scratched cornea or corneal abrasion is not a common side effect of contact lens but happens for the ones who have a tendency of dry eyes or their lens are not of appropriate size. Additionally, there is always a warning for those who sleep with their lenses, they tend to invite the risk of Corneal Abrasion. It is of serious nature as any negligence for long may result in loss of vison. Wearing colored eye lens at night increases the chances of catching an infection.
Excessive production of mucus due to “Red Eye” syndrome is a symptom leading to complications like “Corneal Ulcer” wherein if not treated timely results in permanent loss of vision. It happens majorly due to tender cornea infected by an open sore triggered by fungi/bacteria/virus. The only way to regain vision is corneal transplant which in itself is not easy
Microbial infection of the cornea
Lens provides a conducive environment for harmful, destructive bacteria to thrive with symptoms varying from burning of eyes, redness, irritability, feeling of an external item underneath lens followed by pain. If not attended by doctor timely, it may need invasive mediation or may even result in possible loss of vision. It should not be confused with “superficial keratitis” which also involves irritation and infection
How to wear contact lens ?
Always follow the directions from eye care professional on the duration of wear, when to replace, how to disinfect them etc. It’s very important to have properly clean hands and fingers before touching lenses and eyes. There are a lot of training videos on Youtube that teaches you how to wear a contact lens. The art of wearing contact lens comes with practice. It’s not very hard and neither very difficult for someone who is just starting. But sometimes it can be a little annoying as after multiple attempts, contact lenses keep falling off the eye.
How to use contact Lenses ?
In order to avoid landing in any of the situations above, be careful about keeping hands clean and dry with lens rinsed and disinfected in a prescribed solution while using them. Putting a good quality eye lubricating in eye before using contact lenses is also suggested by some opticians as contact lens tends to dry the eye. Contact lenses comes with a lot of do’s and dont’s of wearing proper sunglasses while heading out in the sun and protecting eyes from dirt, staying away from extreme heat etc.
Types of Contact lenses:
There 3 types of contact lenses available right now in the market depending on the time they can be used for. Starting from Daily, Monthly and Yearly. Daily lenses are basically use and throw lenses that you wear only once, and then instead of storing them in a case, they are disposed off. They are very ideal for someone who only wants a contact lens on some special occasion. Their wear time is also the highest among all the types of the lenses and can be worn straight for around 8 hours.
Then comes monthly one, which can be used for around 30 days roughly and needs to be stored in a proper case after each use. They are considered ideal for someone who needs to wear contact lenses daily.
The last one is a yearly lens; they can be used for a year but needs a lot of care. As the same pair of lenses will be put on the eyes daily for a year, it’s very important to give special emphasis to their hygiene. One should also pay attention to not end up switching the lenses of the left eye and right eye. Usually, the cases are properly marked with Left and Right in order to distinguish.
Eyes are Gift from God – be careful and cherish them. We suggest using glasses for correcting eye problems on daily basis and switching to Contact Lenses only on some special occasions when you want to avoid appearing with glasses.