An Optometrist’s Life- The Lens

Contact lenses are very popular amongst people, mostly teenagers. In fact, contact lenses have become so prevalent, people tend to sleep in them. Although there are many benefits to wearing contacts lenses and sleeping in them, such as improved vision, less dependency on eyeglasses, and playing sports, there are also drawbacks.

Unfortunately, the risk of corneal infections secondary to contact lenses increase. Contact lenses that are worn longer than recommended or slept in are susceptible to causing infections. Additionally, because bacteria are so small, they can position themselves on the posterior surface of the contact lens, and when placed on the eye (cornea), an infection ensues. A certain bacteria know as Pseudomonas is prevalent in contact lens related infections. This type of bacteria usually positions itself in the central part of the cornea, thus lending itself to a sight-threatening situation. The majority of these infections occur because patients sleep in their contacts. Many times, the infections can be treated without visual sequelae; however, reduced visual acuity or loss of vision has occurred.

So, although several contact lenses on the market are approved for sleeping in, I don’t prefer or recommend it. If one is going to sleep in their contact lenses, they should be cognizant of the risks. If the eye(s) feels unusual, take the contacts out immediately, put on the spare eyeglasses, and seek medical attention promptly. Do not wait for it to get better on it’s own.

This blog is for educational purposes, and does not substitute for seeking medical attention when necessary. If you have further questions or need medical attention, see your optometrist or ophthalmologist.

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