Contact lenses are generally considered safe to wear provided you practise hygiene & handle them with meticulous care. They are a preferred mode of vision correction for millions of people around the globe. However, one wrong move with contact lenses mean severe infections, blurred vision, intolerable pain corneal scarring & even things as scary as permanent vision loss. Although CLIDs (Contact Lens Induced Disorders) are rare, often times its negligence of patients that lead to irreversible damage such as blindness. Recently a woman lost vision permanently in one of her eyes by constantly showering in her lenses according to a report published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Contacts are meant to aesthetically correct your vision. The only need is “increased awareness” among patients and encouragement of good hygiene, practising which will guard your eyes.
Showering in Contact Lenses
It seems like there will never be written enough on the subject. Showering in contact lenses should be legally a crime as to what damage it has alone caused to the patients so far. Water- all types of water from tap water to standing water such as a pool or tub etc carry an infamous merciless microorganism called acanthamoeba keratitis that devours human cornea even before its atrocious activity could be detected. Showering in contacts or taking hot tub bath while you are wearing your contact lenses is strictly prohibited. Do not swim, wash face or perform any water related activity unless you take your lenses off.
Sleeping in Contact Lenses
Contact lenses obstruct oxygen. Eyes are the only organ of the human body that do not draw its oxygen from the blood but from the open environment. Wearing contact lenses act as a barrier and partially prevent oxygen entering into eyes. Sleeping in your contacts double this nuisance and may leave your eyes dry. Contact lenses may stuck themselves on to the surface of the eyes leading to microscopic tears and rips on the cornea leading to severe scarring and inflammation.
Even extended wear lenses such as Acuvue Oasis (Bi-weekly approved for 6 night/7 days and or 14 days if you do not wear at night) that are approved by FDA to wear over-night must be removed at bed, experts opine.
Rewetting Contact Lenses using your Saliva
Contact lenses are made from soft hydrophilic plastic so they have the natural affinity towards anything that’s liquid. They are like a sponge and they tend to absorb whatever liquid they are kept in. Most of the consumers use saliva as a rewetting agent in times of urgency thinking that saliva is a better option for contacts than water. To burst your bubble, saliva contains innumerable bacteria that are good for your mouth but not for your eyes. Human eyes are very fragile where the top layer is just half an mm thick making it vulnerable to microbial invasion. When you are out of rewetting drops, it is better to take off lenses instead of risking your vision. Always carry a traveling kit for contact lenses that accommodate a small bottle to contain contact lens solution if you find carrying glasses bulky as a spare.
Colored contacts possess microscopic projections that help them stay fit on the cornea. These tiny projections actually make it feasible for bacteria to latch itself on the lens that might be too stubborn to be removed using conventional cleaning methods. It is crucial to thoroughly disinfect your lenses particularly when you are a heavy user of cosmetics or say SFX makeup in case you are a cosplayer who uses contact lenses avidly. 3N Lens cleaner effectively breaks down protein and lipid debris preventing contamination and reducing risks of infections. Keep CLIDs at the bay and practise hygiene. Contact lenses are definitely a boon of the 21st century. Use it wisely!