Contact lens use and corneal infectionsContact lenses are a convenient and effective alternative to eyeglasses, but did you know that they can make you prone to keratitis?
Keratitis is an infection of the cornea, the clear dome shape in front of the eye that allows light into the eye and keeps foreign particles out. It can occur in people who have had physical or chemical eye injury, have a weak immune system, live in a warm climate and use corticosteroid eye drops. Keratitis is also more common in people who wear contact lenses and have poor contact lens hygiene.
According to Asian Eye Institute cornea and external disease specialist Dr. Sharlene Noguera, “contact lenses wearers are at higher risk of keratitis since the contact lens may rub against the cornea and create slight damage. This damage may allow the bacteria to penetrate the eye.
“Generally, it is safe to wear contacts, but the risk stems from wearing your contacts while you sleep or swim, wearing them longer than recommended, not cleaning them properly or using tap water to clean them,” she adds.
Patients are urged to avoid eye injuries by wearing sports or protective eyewear. Contact lens wearers should also practice good contact lens hygiene by replacing their contacts as recommended, replacing their contact lens case every three to six months, avoiding the use of old solutions and reducing contact lens wear time.
Prompt treatment of early symptoms is important, too! Noguera explains: “Quick diagnosis and treatment can help prevent corneal swelling and scarring, temporary or permanent vision loss and blindness. Make sure to get your eyes checked by your eye doctor as soon as you experience eye redness, eye pain, discharge, blurring of vision, excessive tearing, sensitivity to light and a feeling like something is in your eye.”
Asian Eye offers comprehensive eye exams and screenings. For more info, call 898-2020 or email eyehelp@asianeyeinstitute. com. (Story/Photo by: Charizze Henson)