Contact lenses are generally safe for use, which is why they are commonly worn every day by millions of people around the world. However, this does not mean you can’t get problems with them, especially if you wear it daily for an extended period of time.
If you habitually wear your contacts without taking them off at night, this can lead to microbial keratitis.
What is Microbial Keratitis?
Microbial keratitis is a type of infection that affects the cornea, which is the clear dome that covers your iris or the colored part of your eyes. There are various causes of keratitis, including bacteria, such as pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is so common that it can actually be found in your tap water or your healthy lettuce leaves. Another type of bacteria is staphylococcus aureus, which normally reside on your skin and the mucus membrane, which is the protective lining found within the body.
What Happens When You Have Microbial Keratitis?
If you have this eye problem due to contact lenses, you will experience the following symptoms:
• Eye redness
• Eye pain
• Light sensitivity
• Blurry vision
• Noticeable eye discharge
• Excessive tearing
Everyone is at risk for microbial keratitis – even non-contact lens wearers. But those who use contacts are more at risk, especially if they wear their contacts at night and they don’t follow instructions on how to disinfect their contact lenses properly, such as doing the following mistakes:
• Not cleaning cases of the contact lenses
• Using water to rinse or store the lenses
• Using contaminated solution
• Topping off the solution instead of using a new one
• Sharing lenses for cosmetic purposes
Those with recent injury in the eyes as well as those who are experiencing temporary cornea reshaping for correcting eye vision problems, specifically nearsightedness are highly at risk, too.
How to Prevent Keratitis
The good news is that this type of infection can be prevented. Additionally, it is uncommon and only affects 0.2% of contact lens wearers. Nevertheless, it is important that you prevent microbial keratitis, because this can potentially lead to blindness. So, the best way for you to stop this eye problem from happening is to remove the contact lenses the first time you notice any unusual form of eye irritation. Contact your eye doctor immediately and don’t wear the lenses until you are given the go-signal by the professional.
Of course, knowing how to sanitize and take proper care of your contact lenses will definitely be a huge help in preventing this rare yet dangerous eye infection.