Contact Lenses Can Cause Infections, Too

When the optometrist at LensCrafters recommended contact lenses in lieu of eyeglasses, you probably thought that it’s the safest, most convenient and most comfortable option. While this is true, keep in mind that contact lenses should be worn, cleaned and cared for properly to get the most out of them! Otherwise, your risks for getting eye infections will increase.

Watch for These Signs

You should never wear your contact lenses all the time, a suggestion that your optometrist will agree with. You have to get them off at night so that your eyes will get sufficient rest from the friction.

And as soon as you feel any or all of these signs in your eyes, you should immediately stop wearing your contact lenses.

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Blurry vision
  • Sticky stuff coming from your eyes or extra tear production
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Burning or itchy feeling or sensation that something is stuck in your eye
  • Pain in the eyes

Go to your ophthalmologist as soon as possible. You shouldn’t wait too long as certain eye problems are serious and, thus, require immediate treatment to save your sight.

Be sure to bring your contact lenses to your doctor’s appointment; put them in a case first. Use your eyeglasses, if necessary, instead of wearing new contact lenses. Your ophthalmologist may take cultures off your contact lenses to determine if there are germs that caused the infection.

Causes of Infection

Contact lenses can harbor a few types of pathogens that cause infection, thus, the symptoms. Your ophthalmologist will also be able to prescribe the right treatment based on the cause of infection.

First, bacteria may be present in the contact lenses. Take note, however, that the skin, nose and mouth harbor bacteria, too, but these are usually relatively harmless. But when the bacteria in your contact lenses come into contact with small wounds (i.e., scrapes) on your eye, the result can jeopardize your eyesight.

The bacteria that can cause eye infections include Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Most of the bacteria, fortunately, can be prevented from wreaking havoc on your eyes with antibiotics and proper hygiene.

Second, viruses can also cause eye infections like keratitis (i.e., herpes simplex virus) and pinkeye (i.e., common cold virus). The virus can be transferred from an active herpes sore to your eyes, for example, although there are viruses like the chickenpox virus that can infect the cornea.

Third, parasites living in water (e.g., acanthamoeba) can also infect the eyes, especially among people who wear contact lenses. For this reason, it’s best to take off your contact lenses before swimming in the pool or sea.

Let’s just say that while contact lenses are great for your eyesight, these can also cause its loss. Be careful and be vigilant when using them.

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