Contact Lenses! Vision Aid Or Vision Destroyer?
Do you wear contact lenses? How long per day do you wear them? If you have been wearing them for a long time chances are you have forgotten the instructions you had been given, at the time you started, do not wear them for more than 8 hours a day. Perhaps you have gradually increased the time until now you wear them almost as long as you are awake. If that is the case, there are some things you need to be aware of.
Aimee McWilliams, who is 33 and a fashion designer from London, UK has been wearing contact lenses since she was 14. When she went for her vision check-up, which she had delayed for a few weeks as she felt she didn’t need it, she got the shock of her life. Aimee had been used to wearing her lenses for as long as 14 hours a day. Her optometrist told her that she was in danger of losing her eyesight permanently, because of that.
Why was that? Your eyes need oxygen and gets it directly from the atmosphere through the surface of the cornea which is the transparent outer layer covering the front of the eyeball. When you wear contact lenses, the cornea is partially or wholly covered, starving it of oxygen. Over time, it has been found that 8 hours of this a day is the safe limit, and Aimee had been wearing her lenses for much longer periods.
According to HosamKasaby, a consultant optometrist surgeon, a number of things can happen as a consequence. One risk, he says, is that of corneal neovascularization, the oxygen starved eyes grow new blood vessels over the cornea to compensate, and in time, these blood vessels can completely cover the eyes, and the corneas can become opaque, to the extent that vision may be lost.
If the problem is detected sufficiently early, the problem can be reversed almost completely simply by ceasing to wear contact lenses. The blood vessels will just collapse. However in case of severe neovascularization the collapsing blood vessels can leave visible scarring, and diminished eyesight.
Fortunately for Aimee the damage in her case was not very severe, and she has given up wearing contacts.
The problem is that this condition builds up gradually, and if the wearer neglects the regular eye checkup, they will become aware of it only after it’s reached an advanced stage and their eyes become red and irritated. At that stage it is usually too late to completely reverse the damage.
Corneal neovascularization is not the only condition that can happen through wearing contacts for too long. Serious infections can happen too. One of them is blepharitis, which is the inflammation of the eyelids. It results in serious damage to the whites of the eyes as they are scratched by the inflamed eyelids.
Sadly, blepharitis cannot be cured, but the condition can be controlled by proper care. This means regularly cleaning the eyes with boiled and cooled water, and massaging the closed eyelids to get rid of sticky discharge and flakes of skin that build up beneath the eyelids. People who tend to over use contact lenses have a much greater likelihood of catching this infection.
There are, of course, other reasons for complications. The most obvious one is carelessness of hygiene. Strangely enough, a lot of people who think they are practicing proper hygiene are not. People generally wash their hands with water before they put on their contacts. But the right way is to dry their hands properly before picking up the lenses.
So what do you do to keep safe? Never miss your regular eye checkup. Use disposable lenses only if you can afford them. Change them before they have exceeded their life spans. Change the disinfecting solution every day and clean the case regularly. And above all, do not use them for over 8 hours and Keep your hands conscientiously clean when putting them on or taking them off.
If you follow these instructions, there is no reason why you cannot use your contacts safely, all your life.