Contact lenses are thin transparent plastic discs that sit on the cornea. Just like eyeglasses, they correct refractive they rectify refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness). With these conditions, the eye doesn’t focus light directly on the retina as it should causing blurry vision. Contact lenses are shaped based on the vision problem to help the eye focus light directly on the retina.
Contact lenses are closer to natural sight than eyeglasses. They move with your eye and correct the refractive error closer to the eye for a natural vision. Unlike glasses, they don’t get in the way of your line of sight. Contact lenses can be worn all day, or even several weeks at a time, so you don’t have to worry about putting them on or taking them off.
Is it safe to use contact lenses?
Although contact lenses are generally safe, they can cause problems. Normally, the problems are minor, such as eye discomfort, redness, or excess tearing. In rare cases, contact lenses, especially extended-wear lenses, can cause a serious infection called a corneal ulcer. This infection can cause redness, pain, tearing and light sensitivity. If left untreated, it can lead to permanent vision damage.
Infections are most common in extended-wear contacts, because the eyes make lesser oxygen-carrying tears when they are closed during sleep. But even lenses worn just during the day can cause vision loss if they don’t allow enough oxygen flow to the cornea. Failing to keep the lenses clean can lead to an infection.
Precautions while wearing contact lenses
You need to keep the following points in mind while wearing contact lenses:
- Have your lenses fitted by a qualified eye specialist and make sure to get instruction on proper lens care.
- Don’t wear contact lenses overnight because when you close your eyes with lenses in place, you are actually minimizing oxygen which makes the surface of the eye vulnerable to infection.
- Don’t wear your contact lenses in the shower or while swimming because lakes, rivers, sea water, swimming pools, and even tap water can harbour an organism called acanthamoeba, which can lead to an eye infection. Wearing contact lenses while swimming, showering, or doing other water-related activities can cause serious infections of the eye.
- Don’t reuse contact lens solution because of absent disinfecting capability of the solution. Use fresh solution every time you store your lenses in their case.
- Don’t use saline solution for contact lens cleaning or disinfection because saline solution is simply sterile salt water which will not clean or disinfect.
- Replace your contact lens case every two to three months because like toothbrush, lens cases get dirty.
- Take out your contacts if they are irritating or bothering you in any manner.
- Never use saliva as a wetting agent because believe it or not, your mouth is one of the dirtiest places in your body.
Contact lenses are safe to use, but only if you follow your ophthalmologist’s advice and these simple rules of care.