Eye infections caused from the use of contact lenses aren’t an uncommon complication. There are many infections that can occur from the use of contact lenses, and when left untreated they can threaten vision. Prompt treatment of an eye infection from contact lens use is essential for preventing permanent vision loss.
An eye infection from contact lens use occurs when proper use of the contact isn’t followed or when safety and hygienic procedures are ignored. However, even when used properly an eye infection can still occur. The main causes of an infection from the use of contact lenses include using extended wear lenses, dryness under the lens, poor hygiene, and environmental factors.
Eye Infections From Contact Lens Use
The most common eye infection that occurs from contact lens use is keratitis, which is an infection of the cornea. This infection can be caused by herpes, bacteria, fungus, and microbes. This infection causes numerous symptoms, including blurred vision, redness of the eye, eye pain, and watery eyes. Other symptoms include discharge from the eyes, sensitivity to light, and the sensation of a foreign body within the eye. The underlying cause of the infection will determine the course of treatment. Treatment often includes antifungal medications or antibiotics. Early treatment is vital for preventing vision loss.
Tap water-caused eye infections are also a common complication associated with the use of contact lenses. Tap water contains microbial agents and when tap water is used for contact lenses, the microbial agents can infect the eye. This often causes acanthamoeba keratitis to occur.
Lens solution-caused eye infections can also occur. This infection occurs when multipurpose contact lens solution is used. These solutions increase the risk for developing an infection caused by the water-borne acanthamoeba organism. For this reason, it’s essential contact lenses are removed prior to showering and swimming.
Preventing Eye Infections Caused By Contact Lens Use
Preventing eye infections caused by the use of contact lenses is important. To prevent eye infections from contact lenses, make sure the directions for the contacts are followed correctly. A consultation with an ophthalmologist will educate you about the proper procedures needed to safely use contact lenses. This includes proper cleaning of the lenses, correctly inserting and removing the lenses, and which solutions and eye drops to use for the contact lenses.
Proper hygiene should be practiced as well. Never share contact lenses with other people. Prior to inserting and removing contact lenses, make sure your hands have been washed well with an antibacterial soap, preferably one that’s fragrance free. Make sure the contact lens cases are kept clean and your contacts are washed well in-between use. Always store your contacts in an air tight container. Never reuse disposable contact lenses or wear the contact lenses longer than recommended. If a contact has become damaged throw the lens out and use a new lens.
“Contact Lens-Related Infections” Eye Smart