While contact lenses are safely adopted by millions of people every day, they do carry a risk of eye infection. The best way to avoid eye infections is to follow proper lens care guidelines as prescribed by your eye care professional. If you do not use lenses as directed, you could be damaging your eyes. But if you are following directions to the letter and find your eyes are still being negatively affected, it may be time to consider alternative treatment such as LASIK eye surgery.
In this article, we’ll be reviewing the common risks of contact lenses and how LASIK eye surgery can relieve eye infections.
Contact Lens Infections
The most common infection related to a contact lens is keratitis, an infection of the cornea. Keratitis can have multiple causes, including herpes, bacteria, fungus and microbes, and is the most serious complication of contact lens wear. In severe cases, it can lead to corneal scarring that results in impaired vision and the need for a cornea transplant.
If you are a contact lens wearer and have an eye infection, you many experience blurry vision, unusual redness of the eye, pain in the eye, tearing or discharge from the eye, increased light sensitivity, or the sensation of something in your eye. It is important to remember that some of these symptoms can lead to serious vision loss or even blindness. So it is important to see your eye doctor as soon as possible for treatment.
What Causes Contact Lens-Related Eye Infections?
Risk factors that contribute to a contact lens-related infection include:
- Use of extended-wear lenses
- Sleeping in your contact lenses
- Reduced tear exchange under the lens
- Environmental factors
- Poor hygiene; including poor maintenance of contact lens cases, or reusing or topping off contact lens solution
To minimize the risk of these infections, clean and safe handling of your contact lenses is one of the most important things you can do to protect your eye health. Here are a few best practices to also keep in mind.
Wash Your Hands. Before handling contact lenses, wash and rinse your hands thoroughly. Use a mild non-cosmetic soap. Soaps with fragrance, oils or lotions leave a film on the hands, which may transfer to your lenses and irritate the eye.
Clean Your Lenses and Lens Case. During cleaning, place the lens in the palm of your hand, apply a generous amount of solution and gently rub the lens against your palm with your index finger, using a back-and-forth motion.
Use the Correct Eye Products and Solutions. Different types of contact lenses require special care and certain types of products. There are various types of drops and solutions available, including contact lens multi-purpose solutions that clean, disinfect and store contact lenses. They can help remove any build-up of unwanted deposits, debris such as oils and proteins. If these deposits are left on your lenses, you may feel discomfort or eye irritation.
Never Sleep with Contact Lenses. Unless you are prescribed extended wear contacts, do not sleep with contact lenses in your eyes. Closed eyes don’t allow tears to carry a healthy amount of oxygen to your eyes.
Remove Your Contact Lenses if Irritated. If you develop eye irritation, remove your contact lenses. Wearing a contaminated pair of lenses invites the infection to stay.
How Can LASIK Help?
If you find that following clean and safe handling best practices still aren’t preventing issues of discomfort or even infection, contact lenses may not be right for you. Thankfully, LASIK eye surgery offers numerous benefits that can dramatically improve your quality of life and reduce the risk of eye infection. Here are a few advantages to consider:
No more contact lenses and eye glasses. After successful completion of LASIK vision procedure, many patients can immediately discontinue wearing their contact lenses and/or glasses. Patients can enjoy the new, incredible clear vision.
Better nighttime vision. LASIK procedures typically remove the need for eye glasses and contacts. For people who wear glasses, LASIK surgery removes glare and haloes in their vision. For people who wear contact lenses, LASIK surgery relieves end-of-day dryness that causes fuzzy nighttime vision and poor refractive surfaces.
Additional lines of sight. Some patients gain additional lines of vision after LASIK surgery, especially those with high levels of myopia or astigmatism.
Reduced allergy symptoms. LASIK surgery can relieve headaches, and lessen sinus pain without glasses sitting on their nose. Contact wearers also claim less eye irritation and redness because there is no need to insert contacts in the eye.
Quick results and quick recovery. After the procedure, you may experience blurry vision but this will typically improve by the next day. While you may not be able to drive within the first 24-48 hours of surgery, patients can return to their normal schedule as soon as the day after surgery.
Schedule a Consultation
Join us at Advanced Eye Medical for an expert consultation regarding whether or not you’re the right candidate for LASIK eye surgery, especially if you’ve ever struggled with contact lens infections in the past.