Eyes

Contact lenses can cause eye infections and serious eye damage


There are a few important points to keep in mind when wearing contact lenses
Many people around the world wear contact lenses these days. These tools are designed to correct most visual ametropia in a safe and efficient manner. Researchers have now found that improper use of contact lenses can lead to serious eye infections and even long-term damage.

Scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found in an investigation that improper use of contact lenses can lead to eye diseases and serious long-term damage. The doctors published a report with the results of their investigation in the "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report".

What exactly are contact lenses?
So-called contact lenses are visual aids that have been developed as an alternative to glasses. Contact lenses float on a fine tear film in our eyes. The contact lens does not touch the cornea of ​​our eye directly. There are soft or hard contact lenses. In certain cases, statutory health insurance companies in Germany bear part of the cost of using contact lenses.

One in five Americans with contact lenses contract an eye infection
The results of the new study suggest that one in five Americans contract an eye infection because of the use of contact lenses. This process leads to eye damage. Between 2005 and 2015 alone, there were 1,075 infections caused by contact lenses, the researchers say. These triggered injuries to the eye, such as a scarred cornea and vision loss. Some of the injuries that occurred later could only be treated by a corneal transplant, the doctors add. Already in 2015, older studies warned that contact lenses increase the susceptibility to eye infections.

Ten percent of infections could only be treated with emergency care
The experts explain that more than ten percent of contact lens infections had to be treated through emergency care in a hospital or emergency clinic. Even the smallest eye damage can be a major disruption to the life of the person concerned. Some of the cases required patients to see an ophthalmologist every day. Other sufferers had to treat their infected eye with eye drops every hour.

Avoid damage from contact lenses
In the United States alone, around 41 million people use contact lenses. They use them as an alternative to prescription glasses, the experts say. The CDC study found that many infections and eye damage could be easily avoided. To do this, users would have to take better care of their contact lenses and be more responsible with them. For example, contact lenses should definitely be removed before sleeping, the scientists explain. In addition, the maximum wearing times of the contact lenses should be observed. Many people wear their contact lenses longer than the recommended time, the researchers add.

Contact lens wearers should go to the exam once a year
Regular wearers of contact lenses should see an ophthalmologist or optician at least once a year. This has the possibility to determine the eyesight of the patient. In addition, such an expert can also assess the general health of our eyes.

Make sure to only buy contact lenses from reliable suppliers
Contact lenses in the United States should generally have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the scientists explain. When buying, you should also note that the contact lenses are purchased from reliable suppliers. It's best to avoid buying from online contact lens retailers, the doctors advise. They are unable to determine an exact prescription. For this reason, incorrect visual aids could then be sent. Experts warn that wearing unsuitable contact lenses can cause irreversible vision loss.

How do I avoid permanent eye damage and lack of oxygen?
To avoid eye damage, you should never share your contact lenses with other people. Avoid cleaning with tap water and only use special cleaning solutions for contact lenses, the scientists advise. Do not wear scratched contact lenses. Scratched contact lenses reduce your eyesight. Make sure your contact lenses are always clean and never sleep while you are still wearing your contact lenses. Users should also pay attention to the allowed wearing time of the contact lenses. In this way, permanent eye damage caused by bacterial infections and lack of oxygen can be avoided.

Also wear glasses from time to time
Affected people should not only wear contact lenses. Wear regular glasses as often as possible, the researchers say. This reduces the risk and irritation to your eyes. For example, only wear contact lenses at work during the day. When you get back home, you should wear normal glasses again. Or just use glasses for the whole weekend. In addition, the authors warn that you should never go swimming with your contact lenses. (as)

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