While contact lenses are a common option for addressing vision problems, there are a number of risks that come with wearing contacts – especially if you’re not familiar with the steps required to care for your contact lenses each day. Possible dangers like corneal ulcers and eye infections can develop very quickly, with potentially serious consequences if they are left untreated. Following the right procedures for contact lens care may help reduce the risk of complications, but there is no way to remove the risk entirely. Ahead, we’ll take a closer look at the risks of contact lenses, and the reasons why so many contact lens wearers eventually opt for LASIK eye surgery.
Careful with Contacts: Understanding the Risks of Contact Lenses
If you’ve worn contact lenses for any length of time, then you may already be familiar with the basics of contact lens care. By following your vision care professional’s contact care instructions, you may be able to reduce the risk of certain complications. According to the FDA, however, there are still potential risks no matter how well you care for your contacts:
- Eye Infection – There is always a risk of eye infections, including the common conjunctivitis, when wearing contact lenses. Common risk factors for eye infections include cleaning lenses in re-used contact solution, cleaning lenses under tap water, and going swimming without taking out contacts.
- Corneal Ulcer – A corneal ulcer is a sore that occurs on the cornea, and can be caused by eye infections. Corneal ulcers can cause severe pain, swelling, discharge, and blurred vision, among other symptoms.
- Corneal Abrasion – According to the American Academy of Ophthalmologists, contact lenses have a risk of causing corneal abrasions – or scratches to the surface of the eye – with an increased risk if you’re wearing contacts that have not been prescribed specifically for your eyes. Corneal abrasions can be painful, and may cause long-term damage to the eye.
- Acanthamoeba Keratitis – In rare cases, contact lens wearers are at risk of contracting a parasitic infection called Acanthamoeba keratitis. This infection has painful symptoms, and can cause blindness. It’s also a very difficult infection to treat, with a lengthy recovery process and a real risk of recurrence. Cleaning contacts in contaminated water is a common risk factor for Acanthamoeba keratitis.
- Common Symptoms – While each potential issue has its own symptoms, there are some common symptoms that may indicate that something is wrong. These symptoms include discomfort, pain, blurred vision, light sensitivity, itching, burning, and swelling. If you have these symptoms or otherwise feel like something is wrong while wearing contacts, then it’s important to speak with your eye care professional.
While taking the right steps for contact lens care may help reduce your risk for contact-related complications, the bad news is that there is no way to completely eliminate those risks while still wearing contacts. The good news is that wearing contacts isn’t the only way to address the most common vision problems, and many people who wear contact lenses will also be good candidates for laser eye surgery.
If you’re tired of the daily care routine for contact lenses – and the risks that come with it – then now is a great time to learn more about LASIK eye surgery. Scheduling your free consultation at your local LASIK Vision Institute location is your first step toward learning about LASIK, and potential alternatives to contact lenses. You can schedule your free consultation by filling out a quick form on our homepage, or contacting your local LVI location directly.