Safely worn by millions of people every day, contact lenses continue to be a popular alternative to eyeglasses. However, they do carry a risk of eye infection, if handled improperly or not regularly cleaned. Symptoms of infections related to contact lens usage can be eye pain, unusual redness of the eye, excessive tearing, blurry vision, eye discharge, the constant feeling that you have something in your eye, and an increased sensitivity to light. Our Resources Shannon Chandler, O.D., makes sure that our contact lens-wearing patients are aware that proper cleansing of their lenses is crucial, and that some contact lens-related eye infections can cause serious vision loss. With this in mind, it’s very important to be examined, diagnosed, and treated as soon as you experience any of the above symptoms.
The most common complication related to infections in contact lens wearers is keratitis. This is an inflammation of the cornea, and its various causes include infection from bacteria, fungus, herpes, and microbes. Keratitis is the most serious complication of contact lens wear and, in the most severe cases, may lead to corneal scarring. This scarring can impair your vision and can lead to the need for a corneal transplant. Our Resources treats and educates our patients, explaining that some common causes leading to contact lens-related complications and infections include sleeping in your contact lenses, use of extended-wear lenses, reduced tear exchange under your lens, and environmental issues. Another common cause of infection is poor hygiene, including inadequate maintenance of contact lens cases or reusing contact lens solution. Proper storage, safe handling, and thorough cleansing of your lenses are important steps to reduce your risk of complications like keratitis or infection.
Although the facts about keratitis, other contact lens-related conditions, and infections can be scary, statistics show that contact lens-related complications and infections are rare and affect only about 4 in 10,000 contact lens wearers per year. Vision loss due to contact lens-related infection is even more uncommon and affects only 6 in 100,000 wearers annually. For those individuals considering contact lenses, our Resources will discuss all the pros and cons of contact lens usage, particularly about how daily disposable lenses have a very low rate of serious infection. We encourage our patients to visit Dr. Chandler to receive a complete contact lens exam and fitting, as well as to learn about proper insertion and removal techniques and cleansing routines.