Contact Lenses: Risks, Side-effects & Alternatives
Mr Tariq Ayoub - 14 Mar 2021
For millions of people with vision problems worldwide contact lenses can make life so much more convenient, but they also have their downsides. In this article, we look at the potential side effects and risks to help you better understand the recommendations for their use. This should also help you decide if this is the best way to correct your vision, or an alternative option is a better choice for you.
Risks and Side-effects
Using contact lenses for prolonged periods can have some side effects. Most commonly, these are eye discomfort, dry eyes and allergic reactions to the lenses themselves. Some also may experience soreness/heaviness of the eyes, headaches or poor sleeping patterns.
In very rare cases side effects can be more severe, including:
- Corneal abrasion or eye scratches as a result of inserting incorrectly or as a result of wearing ill-fitting contact lenses.
- Droopy eyelids or ptosis can result as a consequence of prolonged long-term use. In these cases, the weakened muscles of the upper-eyelid need to be repaired to restore your eyelids to their normal position.
- Eye infections happen more often in contact lens users.
How to use Contact Lenses correctly
It is important to follow your optician’s safety guidelines for the type of the lenses you are using. These guidelines often include:
- Avoid using you lenses for prolonged periods. If possible, use should be no longer than 8 hours per day, with days off as regularly as you can. On days off, have an up-to-date pair of glasses to use.
- Daily disposable lenses are generally the safest option as risk of infection is lowest. Never reuse daily disposables or soft lenses that have been dropped.
- Always wash your hands before using handling your lenses or putting fingers near your eyes. Do not put water or saliva on your lenses or in your eye when you are wearing them.
- Never sleep, swim or shower in your contact lenses as there is an increased risk of sight-threatening infections.
Always study the guidelines and research your particular brand of lenses. If you’re unsure of any instructions, take advice from your optician.
While spectacles are not associated with the above risks they have their own set of drawbacks. These include interfering with your work or sporting activities, being uncomfortable on the ears or nose and being incompatible with your favourite sunglasses.
Laser eye surgery or implantable contact lens surgery can be a better option for vision correction, especially when carried out by an experienced refractive surgeon. At Oculase, Mr Ayoub has received specialist certification in refractive surgery from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.