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Are Contact Lenses Really Safe?

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Eye care has come a long way since the days of years past. Glasses designed to correct vision, or to help people who are either nearsighted or farsighted have been used for decades. Additionally, some people only require the use of reading glasses as they get older, and they do not have to wear them all of the time. While eye glasses are still worn today, there is another option for people who experience vision problems. Contact lenses are perhaps the most influential form of eye care in the modern era. Designed to be a discreet form of visual acuity, the only other option for perfect vision without glasses is laser eye surgery. They can be customized to fit your cornea perfectly, and they can easily be applied and removed with practice. However, people do run the risk of experiencing complications due to wearing contact lenses. Even though complications are relatively rare, it is important to recognize what they are, and how they can be avoided.

Contact lenses are worn for a variety of reasons, such as to improve vision, correct refractive error or for cosmetic changes. Most of the complications experienced by those who wear contact lenses can be categorized as noninfectious and infectious. Dry eye is a condition which effects the tear film on the eye. Burning, irritation and sometimes blurry vision are all indicators of dry eye. The tear film can dry out or cause problems if foreign debris come into play. Debris can be transported from the contact lens if it is not cleaned and stored properly, so proper maintenance of your lenses can prevent this issue.

Corneal hypoxia is one of the more common complications experienced by contact lens wearers. It occurs when the cornea is deprived of oxygen. The cornea gets most of its oxygen from the atmosphere, and contact lenses can block this oxygen at times. If left untreated it can lead to other conditions such as central corneal clouding and microcysts. The most simple method to preventing this from happening is to change the schedule of when you are going to wear the contact lenses. This can ensure that oxygen continues to get to the cornea. Also, this condition occurs when people forget to take out their contact lenses before they go to sleep. In addition to corneal hypoxia, some people experience microcysts as a result of the corneal hypoxia. The cysts will go away on their own if they are not continually irritated. A softer contact lens made of silicone hydrogel is often prescribed to reduce irritation.

One of the more serious, though rare, complications that you could experience are infiltrates. Infiltrates are round in nature, and they can become prevalent due to a number of factors. Microbial infections, hypoxia and sensitivity to contact lens solution can all cause infiltrates to form. Infiltrates can fall under the infectious category if they occur singularly as opposed to in groups. Infectious infiltrates are usually larger, and they cause more pain and discomfort than the non-infectious variety. If you suspect that you have infiltrates, then you should assume that they are infectious and treat them accordingly. Most doctors recommend that patients should stop wearing their contact lenses, and that they should begin treatment with antibiotics.

While some of the complications associated with wearing contact lenses can be serious, most are not. In fact, most complications are preventable if you simply exercise good judgement and care of your eyes. For example, those who are new to wearing contact lenses often forget to take them out before they go to sleep. As mentioned earlier, corneal hypoxia occurs when the cornea does not get enough oxygen. Nobody wants to wake up to burning and irritated eyes. If you have trouble remembering to remove contact lenses you should set up a reminder system with your housemates, or set your alarm to offer a reminder. Once you develop a routine then this complication is preventable.

It is always a good idea to assume that your contact lenses have foreign bodies on them before you place them in your eyes. Use a cleaning solution to eliminate any debris from the contact lens. You should do this even if you cannot see the debris. Most of the time the debris is invisible to the naked eye, but it is quite evident once it is pressed against your cornea. Make sure that your lenses are stored in the proper solution, and take steps to ensure that your contact lens housing is completely sealed.

Most contact lens complications are rare, and the ones which do occur are usually caused by human carelessness. This is why it is so important to follow the instructions of your eye doctor very carefully. These instructions are designed to keep you from experiencing the discomfort and expensive treatment stemming from complications caused by the people who wear them. Exercising good judgement regarding the care of your eyes is the best way to prevent future issues.