Contact Lenses: Health Risks Revealed

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Today contact lenses are a commonly accepted and widely-used form of vision correction. However, like any medical treatment, the use of contact lenses may come with certain health risks and side effects if the lenses are not cared for properly. It is important to understand the potential complications associated with contact lens wear and take the necessary precautions to minimize the risks.

The most common risks associated with contact lens wear include irritation, infection, decreased oxygen to the eyes, and corneal swelling. Irritation is the most common complaint associated with contact lens wear and can be caused by a number of factors, including wearing contact lenses for too long, poorly fitting lenses, and the accumulation of debris on the lenses. Contact lens wearers may also experience an allergen response or an immune response to the contact lens material itself.

In addition, contact lens wearers are at an increased risk of infection, as contact lenses create a warm, moist environment in which bacteria can thrive. Infections such as bacterial conjunctivitis and corneal infections can occur if the contact lens wearer fails to adequately clean and disinfect their lenses each day. Poor contact lens hygiene also increases the risk of debris and protein deposits, which can cause inflammation, irritation, and discomfort.

Furthermore, contact lens wearers may be vulnerable to decreased oxygen supply to the eyes, referred to as ‘hypoxia.’ Soft lenses limit the amount of oxygen that reaches the cornea, and this can lead to an increase in the risk of corneal swelling and infection. Those who often wear their contact lenses for 16 hours or longer are more likely to suffer from hypoxia due to the low oxygen permeability of the lenses.

Finally, contact lens wearers may be at risk of corneal swelling in some cases due to a maladaptive response of the cornea to contact lens use. This type of corneal swelling is referred to as ‘hydrophobic’ and can be managed by changing the contact lens material or by reducing the lens-wearing time. If corneal swelling is not treated, it can lead to more serious complications, such as permanent scarring of the cornea.

In conclusion, contact lenses can come with certain health risks if not worn and cleaned properly. It is important to understand these risks and to always wear and care for contact lenses in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Although the risk of discomfort and infection associated with contact lenses is low, the potential side effects should always be taken into consideration when deciding if contact lenses are right for you.

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