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Svjetlost is the leading ophthalmology Clinic in the Southeastern Europe, offering complete ophthalmic services.

Do you know about contact lens risks?

Do you know about contact lens risks?
Usage od contact lens leads to some risks we should be aware of. We can significantly lower infection risks and other complications with education and responsible behaviour.
Invention of contact lenses has freed people of wearing glasses, but came with new eye risks, most often occurred as a result of rules of lenses wearing and maintenance non-observance. We provide examples below that each contact lens user should consider:
1. Sleeping with contact lenses
The contact lens owners, whether soft or semi-hard, are at a higher risk of developing infections, therefore responsible behaviour is the key to prevent complications. They are, somewhat greater for soft contact lens carriers, although it is worth mentioning that in recent years the quality of soft lenses has improved significantly (materials with high oxygen permeability and lenses with frequent replacement).
Although no ophthalmologist will advise sleeping with contact lenses, there are soft contact lenses that flow an extremely high amount of oxygen being approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Under certain cases it is possible to prolong wearing lenses, but only these. Our cornea does not have a blood vessel and the oxygen is largely derived from the air and if this is disturbed, the cornea fights with cornea blood vessels ingrowth because of the deficiency of oxygen.
For people who are using contact lenses for a while (whether soft or semi-hard) because of the mechanical action of the lens (pressure on the cornea, especially if it is dry or inadequate lens), the cornea gets irregular shape and may have some keratoconus characteristics and people also complain about the weakening vision.
2. Contact lens users are at 10,000 times greater risk of serious eye infection
Each lens represents a foreign body in the eye and can cause very serious complications. Contact with liquid water or showers/baths with lenses are carrying the risk of corneal inflammation by the parasite acanthamoeba. This is an inflammation every ophthalmologist is afraid of because it is difficult to treat and as a result corneal transplantation may also occur. The illness is associated with wearing contact lenses in about 90% of cases since they cause corneal microtrauma and this parasite can penetrate the eye. This is the reason why it is important to educate contact lens users about wearing and maintaining contact lenses. It greatly reduces the possibility of this dangerous disease.
3. Dry eye syndrome is more common with the contact lens users
A modern lifestyle which includes long-lasting indoor and air-conditioned spaces, long-lasting computer work and viewing the screen, benefits the occurrence of a dry eye syndrome. They are often reported in people who do not wear contact lenses, but more often happen to people who wear them. Symptoms that contact lens users indicate are impossibility to continuously wear lenses longer than a few hours, eye dryness, gouging, feeling of a foreign body or sand in eyes, etc.  In any case in which disturbances are felt, the lenses should be removed and if the interference don’t stop soon, visit an ophthalmologist, because this seemingly harmless dry eye may increase the risk of serious complications, in particular the corneal infection.
4. Lens wear after the expiration date (longer than we should)
Today's trend in wearing contact lenses are certainly lenses with high oxygen permeability, lenses with short replacement period (one-day, fifteen-day, monthly). Make sure to keep an eye on the expiration date of the lenses as it begins to change its characteristics after the expiration. In addition, with longer wearing, various layers are accumulated on it, which can also be beneficial for an infection.
With education and responsible behaviour, contact lens users  reduce the risks of infections and other complications.
dr. Maša Mikuličić, spec. ophthalmologist