Contact Lenses and Eye Health

Updated: Jun 28, 2019



Currently, millions of people worldwide use contact lens regularly. What they may not know is that wearing contact lenses put you at risk of several serious conditions from self limiting to sight threatening diseases such eye infections and corneal ulcers.

Our eye normally fights infections through a variety of defense mechanisms. Our tears are anti-bacterial in nature and blinking helps to wash off bacterial organisms or any foreign bodies from the surface of the eye. However, when you wear contact lenses, the effectiveness of both functions are inhibited. Thus, bacteria, fungus and parasite can bind to the surface of the contact lens that sits against the eye. If those organisms infect the corneal surface they can destroy the delicate corneal cells, which can lead to scarring and vision loss.

Here are a few risks associated with wearing contact lenses:

Diminished Corneal Reflex

Using contact lenses may cause a diminished corneal reflex in your eye. Corneal reflex is a protective mechanism of our eye. Whenever a slightest amount of pressure is applied to the cornea, our brain receives a signal to drop down the eyelids to protect our eye. This is what causes your eyes to instinctively shut down when you are surprised by a flying object towards your eye. Like an insect fly appears out of nowhere or when someone tries to poke your eyes.

In short, your corneal reflex exists to protect your eyes from anything that may cause direct trauma to the eyes. And by constant application of contact lenses to the eyes, you are teaching your body to ignore your natural corneal reflex. Because of this you may dulling the eye's response to corneal reflex and this could lead to the eye being damaged because you couldn't shut your eyes fast enough when danger approached.

Dry Eyes

Contact lenses reduces amount of tears getting on our cornea. Especially the soft lenses as they absorb most of our tears to keep itself soft. The lack of tear exchange can cause dry eye syndromewhich causes uncomfortable feeling such as itchiness, redness and burning sensation. Severe dry eyes can also lead to scarring of the cornea which is painful as hell.

Corneal Abrasion

Contact lenses can scratch your cornea and causes corneal abrasion if they are not fitted properly or when your eyes are dry. This is especially true if you are sleeping with contact lenses in. Abrasion can also happen when the lenses trap particles (such as dust, dirt and sand) and rub against your cornea. Cuts and abrasion create opening for bacteria and virus to seep through, leading to eye infection which can result into vision loss. Carelessness in handling your contact lenses during extraction and insertion can also increases your chance of scratching the cornea.

Conjunctivitis

Contacts, especially those worn through the night, provide a moist environment that is a potential breeding ground for microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses. And because less oxygen reaches the cornea when you are wearing the lenses, your body is not able to fight off infection caused by bacteria or viruses effectively. Thus contact lens wearers are at higher risk of getting eye infection such as conjunctivitis (pink eye) and stye.

Blind as a Bat

If you drop your contact lens, it might need some sort of miracle to find it again. After that, you will have to proceed on without your lens for the rest of the day. Blinded in either one or two eyes. And that seems to defeat the purpose of putting on contact lenses because you want clearer vision, isn’t it?

Considering the risks involved, you should decide whether contact lenses are for you, or should you consider a permanent form of vision correction such as Lasik Eye Surgery with its unprecedented 96% patient satisfaction rate?

This post originally appeared on Improve Eyesight HQ.