Among individuals who don’t want to deal with eyeglasses every day, contact lenses are almost ubiquitous. These visual aids are recognized as catalysts for many ocular infections. Such eye problems can vary from mild to serious, but they are almost always highly inconvenient and uncomfortable. Such eye problems can vary from mild to serious, but they are almost always highly inconvenient and uncomfortable.
One of the most commonly diagnosed infections associated with wearing contact lenses is keratitis. The infection occurs in one of three types, according to the Canadian Ophthalmological Society: bacterial keratitis, fungal keratitis, and herpes keratitis.
The cornea is affected by bacterial keratitis and is most commonly seen in people who have suffered ocular injuries or who wear contact lenses. Typically, it is uncomfortable and can have signs such as reduced vision, eye discharge, or increased sensitivity to light. Usually, bacterial keratitis develops very rapidly, and if it is not tackled in a timely manner, it can result in complete blindness.
Similarly to bacterial keratitis, fungal keratitis appears, but its root causes are slightly different. While any eye damage or even a poor immune system may be caused by the bacterial variety of the infection, fungal keratitis is spurred on by Fusarium, a fungus frequently found in water, soil and plants. It can grow in contact lenses that are not cleaned and treated properly.
As a consequence of the herpes simplex virus, herpes keratitis occurs, a widespread infection borne by 90 % of the population. Although the herpes simplex virus frequently manifests as cold sores, it can manifest itself optically, spurring an outbreak of keratitis. Usually, this infection only affects the outside of the eye and cornea, but it can occur in rare cases on layers deep within the eye, in which case it can be considered a serious infection. While someone carrying the herpes simplex virus is at risk of contracting herpes keratitis, with the use of contact lenses, the chances of developing it are exacerbated.
2. Corneal ulcers
Corneal ulcers occur on the corneas as sores apparently open. Eye Health Web clarified that the cornea is affected by its epithelial layer to its stromal layer by these infections. After this portion of the eye has suffered a minor injury or abrasion and has been left exposed to infection, corneal ulcers are typically caused primarily by germs. Contact lens wearers who have used dirty lenses and inserted germs into their eyes also show in them.
Since corneal ulcers can lead to blindness, if you have these or similar symptoms, you should always reach out to your doctor. Since corneal ulcers can lead to blindness, if you have these or similar symptoms, you should always reach out to your doctor.
3. Contact lens-induced acute red eye
The conjunctiva and the cornea are affected by this infection, known as CLARE. The Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators explained that it most frequently occurs upon waking up, and the signs are typically red bumps on the tissue within the upper eyelid, discharge, itchiness and lens intolerance.
Usually, CLARE is mild and needs no intensive rehabilitation, although it can be unpleasant, uncomfortable and highly inconvenient. Usually, CLARE is mild and needs no intensive rehabilitation, although it can be unpleasant, uncomfortable and highly inconvenient. If, after 24 hours of removing your contact lenses, discomfort and redness are still present, you might want to seek medical attention, as it may be a more serious infection.
Overall, the practice of proper contact lens treatment will avoid these infections. With cleaning lenses, many individuals cut corners and wear them for longer than they should, both factors that raise the risk of infection. Consider opting for laser vision correction if you are not careful with your contacts, which will remove your need for these dangerous optical aids.
Rex Hamilton, MD is a board certified, world-renowned eye surgeon who specializes in premium cataract and refractive eye surgery in Los Angeles. Dr. Hamilton spent the first 15 years of his career as the Medical Director of the UCLA Laser Refractive Center. As a Professor of Ophthalmology at the Stein Eye Institute, Dr. Hamilton not only cared for thousands of cataract and refractive surgery patients, but he taught hundreds of eye surgeons from around the world how to provide better eye care for their patients.