Oculase Articles

Contact Lens: Risks, Side-effects & Alternatives

Mr Tariq Ayoub - 14 Mar 2021

contact lens

For millions of people with vision problems worldwide, contact lenses can make life so much more convenient. While as great as they may be, contact lenses are not perfect. In this article, we look at the potential dangers – side effects and risks of contact lenses, to help you better understand the recommendations for their use, and to help you decide if contact lenses or an alternative option is a better choice for you.

Risks and Side-effects

Prolonged contact lens use can result in common side effects including discomfort, dry eyes and allergy reactions to the lens themselves. Many people report soreness and heaviness of the eyes associated with headaches and poor sleeping patterns with prolonged contact lens use.

More worryingly, contact lens use can lead to some severe side effects, including sight loss in rare cases. These side-effects include:

  • Corneal abrasion or eye scratches can happen as a result of inappropriate insertion of contact lenses in the eye or as a result of wearing ill-fitting contact lenses.
  • Droopy eyelids or ptosis can result as a consequence of prolonged long-term contact lens use. The weakened muscles of the upper-eyelid would have to be repaired to restore your eyelids to their normal position
  • Eye infections happen more often in contact lens users and sometimes can result in sight loss. This usually happens due to inappropriate contact lens use.

Advice on Contact Lens Use

It is important to follow safety guidelines for proper contact lens use. The dangers associated with contact lens use increase considerably when used incorrectly. Tips on contact lens use include:

  • Avoid using your contact lens for prolonged periods. Less than 8 hours per day is the usual recommendation. Have contact lens free days. Always have an up-to-date pair of spectacles to use when you take your contact lens out.
  • Daily disposable are safer than extended wear contact lenses as the risk of infection is considerably higher with extended wear lenses. Never reuse daily disposable contact lenses or dropped soft contact lenses.
  • Always wash your hands before using contact lenses. 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 lens as there is an increased risk of sight-threatening infections.

Always study the guidelines and research your particular brand of lenses. Remember to follow the advice of your optician in order to ensure that you are using your contact lens as expected.

Safer alternatives

While spectacles are not associated with the above risks and can look adorable and stylish, they can be incredibly annoying. They may interfere with your work or sporting activities. They can sometimes be slightly painful on the ears or nose. You may find you can’t wear your favourite shades when it’s sunny.

Laser eye surgery or implantable contact lens surgery is 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.

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