One of the main reason why contact lens are so popular is because of its aesthetic purpose. However compared to wearing glasses, several problems may arise from wearing soft contact lenses, especially when they are worn for prolonged periods of time. These include:
- Dry eyes: This is the most common problem from contact lens overwear. Wearing contact lenses for too long can reduce the amount of oxygen that your eyes receive. The thick lens material can also act like a sponge and soak up your tears, thus drying out your tear film. The combination of lack of oxygen and not enough tears in your eyes can lead to the development of small dry spots or erosions on the surface of the cornea which act as entry ports for germs to enter the cornea. In mild cases, this can result in corneal ulcers. In more severe cases, you may even require a cornea transplant to cure the infection.
- Corneal neovascularisation: If the material of the contact lens is not oxygen-permeable enough, new blood vessels may start to grow into the cornea as a means to transport more oxygen. This condition is known as ‘corneal neovascularisation’. Over time, the blood vessels can even regress and clear. However, if contact lens overwear persists, these blood vessels will continue to grow into the cornea enough to cause irregularity to the cornea, thus degrading vision. In severe cases, a corneal transplant will be required as the cornea loses its clarity.
- Giant papillary conjunctivitis: This condition occurs when your eyes produce an inflammatory response to a foreign body irritating the eye, which occur as bumps underneath your eyelids. Contact lenses are after all a foreign body in your eye, thus it can lead to giant papillary conjunctivitis.
It is important to regulate your contact lens wear so that your eyes are getting sufficient oxygen. Switching to rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses would also help because they allow much better oxygen transmission through the cornea, which does not dry out the eyes as much.
Thinking to get rid of your contact lens use? You can choose to go for laser vision correction! Book an appointment today to check for your LASIK suitability!