Over the past decade the major contact lens manufacturers have made huge advances in research and development leading to new contact lens technologies. These included improvements in production methods that ensure higher levels of quality, reproduction, and a reasonable overall cost to the wearer. A leap from the mid water type polymers to silicone hydrogel materials completely transformed the definitions of fit, oxygen transmission to the eye tissues, wearer comfort and wearers' expectations for end-of-day comfort.
Unfortunately what has not changed over the same timeline is patient compliance and the unnecessary risks that wearers continue to take while wearing their lenses. A recent report published by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) addressed various risk factors that should be brought to wearers' attention. These included:
1) Napping or sleeping while wearing your contacts: Even though the oxygen transmission of many of the new lens materials is very high it is ill advised to sleep with your lenses. Some of the problem issues that may arise relate to the potential drying of the lenses when your eyes are shut. Once awake the wearer may experience minor swelling of the eye tissues, which may express itself in the form of minor blurring of the vision. Although this swelling is generally expressed immediately upon waking and diminishes over time, it should serve as a reminder to avoid such practice. Along with the minor swelling minor discomfort caused by the drying of the lens surface may also occur, this until the wearer's natural tears and blinking work to help hydrate the lenses.
2) Using a lens case that may be dirty or one that has simply been used for far too long: Dirty lens cases are one of the most significant sources of eye infections. The lens case should be replaced regularly to prevent the accumulation of certain dirt that may not be successfully cleaned during regular maintenance.
3) Topping off of the soaking solution in the lens case: This practice simply dilutes the effectiveness of the solution and may also cause the dilution of certain debris washed off from the previous wearing period. The industry recommendation is to ask that the wearer to discard the solution left in the lens case once he/she has inserted their lenses. Fresh new solution should be poured into the lens case when storing lenses. This will ensure that the solution's prescribed volume and soaking period for disinfection is sufficient to meet its disinfection norms.
4) The use of lenses well beyond the prescribed replacement regimen prescribed by the eye doctor: This can result in surface deposits that can cause discomfort as they rub on the inner lid tissues. Also, lenses with deposits tend to attract surface deposits that can form an effective foundation for water rejecting protein deposits. This can then lead to wearing discomfort and much shorter wearing schedules.
Non-compliance of a wearer's recommended wearing schedule may produce warning signals. The most common of these is red eye. If this expresses itself it is advisable to remove the lenses and consult your eye doctor. The CDC has determined that nearly 30% of surveyed respondents have reported experiencing some form of red eye.
The successful wear of contact lenses requires proper compliance as recommended by your eye doctor.
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