Let’s say you’re dead tired at the end of the day, and you don’t even want to take the time to remove your contact lenses before hitting the hay for that well deserved rest; that shouldn’t be too much of a problem, right? Think again, because consistently wearing your contact lenses for days on end can cause serious eye problems.
The risk of infection
Wearing your contact lenses all the time means they aren’t getting cleaned, and dirty lenses in contact with the sensitive areas of the eye is a recipe for bacterial infection. Medical professionals note that keeping in contact lenses for extended periods are 10 times more at risk of developing an eye infection, largely because the closed eye environment is beneficial to bacterial growth. Bacterial infections due to prolonged contact use have caused serious health issues and in extreme cases, has resulted in patients needing to receive eye transplants.
Scarring and inflammation
Scarring and inflammation are other common problems associated with extended use of contact lenses. Keratitis is a corneal inflammation that can occur when you wear your contacts while swimming or sleeping, and in some cases it can cause blindness. According to the CDC, there are approximately 1 million outpatient and emergency room visits related to keratitis each year. Corneal scarring is another serious complication related to improper contact usage. Patients who wore unprescribed contact lenses overnight have reported ulcers and scarring on the cornea.
Protecting your eyes from contact lens damage
The best ways to make sure you are protecting your eyes from contact lens damage is to only wear your prescription lenses, and use them as directed, including removing them while sleeping, showering, and in the pool. If you experience any symptoms that may indicate an infection or scarring, see an eye health professional immediately.
At Florida Eye Specialists, our goal is to help you safeguard the health of your eyes. To find out more about how you can use contacts while minimizing the risk of infection or scarring, schedule an appointment with a specialist at one of our 8 convenient locations, with offices in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Palatka.