Contact lenses are worn by millions of people each and every day. These medical devices are safe when they are worn properly. Improper care of contact lenses leads to an increased risk of eye infections. Yet even the most careful contact lens wearer can find themselves with an infection of the cornea (the clear, outer surface of the eye), called keratitis. Understanding keratitis and how to prevent is an important lesson anyone who wears contacts should learn.
Keratitis is a fancy word for inflammation of the cornea. It can wreak havoc on an eye due to a variety of causes such as bacteria, fungus, microbes, and herpes. The damage caused by keratitis can be severe including corneal scarring and in the very worst cases, the need for a corneal transplant.
Symptoms of keratitis include blurry vision, an inflamed, red eye that is often marked by moderate to severe pain. Treatment for keratitis depends on the type that is diagnosed. Prescription eye drops are typically required and contact lenses must be removed during treatment. Infections can actually be worsened by continuing to wear them.
There are a variety of reasons why contact lens wearers end up with keratitis. The most important thing for contact lens wearers to do is follow the instructions for the specific lenses they are wearing. Some of the factors that can contribute to a contact lens eye infection are sleeping in contacts, the use of extended wear lenses, reduced tear exchange under the lenses, environmental factors and poor hygiene when handling contacts.
If you wear contact lenses and are ready to ditch them for clear, natural vision, consider LASIK. LASIK has been shown to be safer than contact lenses because of the decreased risk of eye infections. You can read more about that here. It has also been proven to be more cost effective than contact lenses.
Should you find yourself with any of the above symptoms, please contact your eye care provider, or the Raleigh Eye Center today. Your vision is not something that should be taken for granted. Be smart in the care and wear of your contact lenses. Your eyes are worth it!