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Can Contact Lenses Cause Keratitis?

If you have the red-eye condition and currently wear contact lenses, there is a high chance that you are having keratitis due to the contact lenses. 

The term keratitis may sound alien to you. But, the truth is, this eye condition is common for contact lenses wearer. 

So, if you are one of the estimated 125 million people who use contact lenses worldwide, you may want to keep on reading to understand all about keratitis and how to avoid it.   

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

What Is Keratitis?

Keratitis is a painful infection of the cornea. It is a clear tissue located on the front of your eye that covers your pupil and iris. Some doctors may refer it to โ€˜corneal ulcerโ€™. 

This condition will disturb your eyesight. Aside from having decreased vision, you may also feel pain and uncomfortable in your eyes.

There are a number of reasons that cause this condition. Some of the reasons can be due to an eye infection, minor injury, contaminated water, improper contact lenses handling and wearing. 

How Can You Get Keratitis From Contact Lens?

Keratitis is common for people who wear contact lenses compared to people who do not wear one. In fact, the risk of this condition may increase for those who wear contact lenses for an extended duration.

Sleep With Your Contact Lenses On

This is true especially when you sleep with your contacts on. While you are sleeping, the contact lenses could block your eyes from getting the oxygen and hydration they need. Your eyes need oxygen and hydration to stay healthy and fight bacterial growth.

Unfit Contact Lenses

Getting the right fit for your contact lenses is also crucial to avoid injury to your eyes. An unfit contact lens may cause eye inflammation and scarring. Eventually, it will let the bacteria or fungi grow in your eyes and lead to an infection. 

Poor Contact Lenses Care Cause Keratitis

Without proper contact lenses handling, there is a high chance that you may be infected by this problem too. Ignoring these safe contact lenses care routines means you expose yourself to eye infection with contaminated contacts lenses. Some of the bad habits on contact lenses handling are:

  • Improper cleaning of contact lenses
  • Storing contact lenses in tap water instead of appropriate contact lenses solutions
  • Never change the contact lenses solutions in your contact lenses case
  • Never replace your contact lenses case after a long usage time
  • Have not washed your hands before touching contact lenses or eyes 

Basically, the longer you wear your contact lenses than you should, swimming or sleeping with your contact lens on and handling your contact lens in the wrong way may lead to the risk of getting this eye condition.  

What Are The Symptom Of Keratitis?

You should know the symptoms of keratitis if you wear contact lenses. Being able to recognize the symptoms is crucial so you can get early treatment. Below are some of the signs that you should know of. 

  • Eye redness
  • Eye pain
  • Excess tears or other discharge from your eye
  • Difficulty in opening your eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Reduced vision
  • Sensitive to light
  • Swelling of the cornea

If you notice or experience any of these signs or symptoms, see a doctor right away. This condition is not a laughing matter. It can become worst. Any delays in diagnosis and treatment may cause severe complications to your eyes. 

Is Keratitis Dangerous?

You may wonder how serious keratitis can be? Mild to moderate cases of this illness can be healed if you see your doctor immediately. However, if it is left untreated, it can lead to other complications such as:

  • Chronic inflammation and scarring of your cornea
  • Constant or periodic cornea viral infections 
  • Open sores on your cornea
  • Temporary or permanent reduction vision
  • Permanent blindness

Can Keratitis Due To Contact Lenses Be Treated?

Keratitis because of improper wearing of contact lenses can be cured, given that you seek appropriate treatment as soon as possible. With prompt action, keratitis can be treated easily. It also clears up quickly without loss of vision.

Your doctor may talk to you about the history of your symptoms. Apart from that, you may also go through a number of exams to diagnose the issue. Some of the exams could be:

  • Eye exam
  • Penlight exam
  • Slit-lamp exam
  • Laboratory analysis 

Once the doctor understands your eye problem, he or she will suggest the right treatment for your condition. Different eye infection requires special treatments. Your doctor may recommend these treatments to treat your keratitis:

  • Oral antibiotics
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Topical treatment with antibacterial drops
  • 24-hour eye patch
  • Artificial eye drops
  • Cornea transplant (For worst condition)

To avoid permanently damaging your vision, get proper keratitis treatment right away once you spot any of the symptoms. However, the best option is always to avoid it from happening in the first place. 

How To Prevent Keratitis While Wearing Contact Lenses?

Wearing contact lenses requires extra precaution and attention. To avoid getting keratitis due to contact lenses wearing, you may follow these tips:

  • Choose daily wear contact lenses for easy disposal 
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before touching your contact lenses and eyes
  • Adhere to your eye care recommendations
  • Use contact lens care products that are made for the type of lenses you wear
  • Gently rub your contact lenses during the cleaning 
  • Replace your contact lenses as recommended 
  • Change your contact lens case every three to six months
  • Throw away the solution in the contact lens case each time you disinfect your lenses
  • Do not top off the old solution that is already in the case.
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses when you go swimming, shower or sitting in a bathtub
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses while sleeping 
  • Do not store your contact lenses with tap water.

Wearing contact lenses has a lot of benefits. Contact lenses are the perfect alternative to spectacles. Additionally, they offer more natural vision, comfortability, convenience and good fashion choices.  

However, if you do not take good care of your contact lenses usage, cleaning and disinfecting, you may end up with eye problems like keratitis. So, take proper prevention from this eye problem while wearing your contact lenses and practise good hygiene while handling them. 

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