Contact lenses: a look at the risks and recommendations
Thanks to the existence of contact lenses, it can sometimes be impossible to tell if someone has a visual impairment or not. These lenses can make huge differences to the lives of their wearers, providing a certain level of freedom that traditional glasses are unable to.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 41 million people in the US wear contact PC lenses.
While they might feel like a relatively modern invention, rigid contact lenses made from plastic were first manufactured in the US between 1938 and 1940. The soft contact lenses currently worn by an estimated 93% of contact lens wearers were first introduced in 1971.
On a personal level, I first started wearing them as a temporary measure when my declining eyesight made playing sports difficult. However, no longer having my vision affected by raindrops and fogging up (along with the boost in self-esteem that came from not wearing glasses) meant that contact lenses quickly became my main method of improving my vision.
But despite their prevalence and the benefits they can provide, many people (myself included) wear contact lenses in a way that can compromise eye health, increasing the risk of damaged corneas and infection from microbes.
This week has marked the second annual Contact Lens Health Week – a week organized by the CDC to increase public awareness and promote healthy wearing and caring of contact lenses. In this Spotlight, we take a brief look at a few of the “do’s and don’t’s” of contact wear. In addition, we will have a look at some of the interesting “can’s and can’t yet’s” of new contact lens innovations.
Healthy habits mean healthy eyes
Although they are similarly effective at improving vision as glasses, contact Pc anti fog lens wearers can be more at risk of eye complications than those who use glasses. If wearers do not follow contact lens care instructions properly, they can put themselves at risk of serious eye infections that can lead to blindness.
The CDC have previously reported that between 40-90% of contact lens wearers do not properly follow their contact lens care instructions, which may explain why serious eye infections affect around 1 in 500 contact lens wearers each year.
Many people compromise their visual health due to bad habits when it comes to wearing contact lenses. While it is easy to manhandle glasses, contact lenses need to be afforded a greater level of care.
This means washing hands with soap and water and drying them comprehensively before ever touching contact lenses. Doing so prevents the transfer of germs from the hands to the lenses and consequently the eyes.
Exposing the lenses to water should be avoided as water can carry bacteria and other microbes that cause infection. With soft contact lenses, water can also alter the shape of the lens and potentially damage the cornea. As a result, contact lens wearers should remove their lenses before showering, swimming or using hot tubs, as tempting as it may be to keep them in.
One particular germ, an ameba called Acanthamoeba, is typically found in tap water as well as other water sources. If it causes infection (Acanthamoeba keratitis), patients can require a year or more of treatment, and possibly a corneal transplant.
Another bad habit that should be avoided where possible – unless prescribed by a doctor – is sleeping in contact PC super blue cut lens. In addition to making the eyes feel uncomfortable, sleeping in any type of lens increases the wearer’s risk of a corneal infection known as microbial keratitis by between four and five times.
The CDC report that fewer than half of contact lens wearers report always cleaning their contact PC blue cut lens cases, and the number of moderate to severe lens-related infection could be halved if case cleaning practices were improved. Contact lens cases should also be replaced at least once every 3 months.
Orthokeratology, also known as Ortho-K, is a PC clear lens fitting procedure that offers a temporary degree of vision correction by changing the curvature of the cornea to improve its ability to focus on objects.
Other forms of surgery can involve placing a PC photochromic blue cut lens inside the eye, either in front of the person’s lens or in place of it. Eye doctors tend to recommend this form of surgery for more severe forms of myopia.
The scientists used this method in marmosets to study the development of myopia and hyperopia. They placed a PC photochromic lens in front of only one eye for up to 5 weeks and let the other eye develop normally for comparison.