Contact Lens Dangers:
Dangers of Contact Lenses
Dr. Ben Kim
to two studies out of the U.K., wearing daily disposable contact lenses or contact
lenses that are supposed to allow more oxygen into the eyes does not lead to a
lowered risk of developing dangerous eye infections.
of what type of contact lenses are used, the biggest risk factor for developing
a painful infection of the cornea called microbial keratitis is sleeping with
contact lenses on.
John Dart, an ophthalmologist who led one of the studies in question, states that
if you wear contact lenses overnight, you increase your risk of infection by a
factor of five.
lenses that are supposed to allow more oxygen to reach the eyes - called silicone
hydrogel contact lenses - were introduced in 1999, around the same time that daily
disposable contact lenses were introduced. It was hoped by many in the industry
that these newer lenses would decrease risk of users developing microbial keratitis,
but the two recent studies out of the U.K. - published in the October 2008 issue
of Ophthalmology - indicate that these lenses do not decrease risk of infection.
keratitis occurs in approximately 1 out of 2000 contact lens users. Though many
people fully recover from bouts of microbial keratitis, this condition can cause
vision loss, and in some cases, the loss is permanent.
I Generally Don't Recommend Wearing Contact Lenses
cornea (white part) of your eyes is innervated by the trigeminal nerve, a cranial
nerve that sends a signal to your brain whenever the slightest amount of pressure
is applied to your cornea. When your brain receives this signal, it sends a message
out to your eyelids via a different cranial nerve, called your facial nerve, telling
your eyelids to drop down to protect your eyes.
loop of electrical activity occurs within milliseconds, and is called your corneal
reflex - it's what causes your eyelids to instantaneously drop down whenever an
object suddenly comes flying at your eyes.
another way, your corneal reflex exists to protect your eyes against damage that
can be caused by direct physical trauma to your eyes. And whenever you put contact
lenses on your eyes, you are teaching your body to ignore your corneal reflex.
your corneal reflex weaken over time with repeated use of contact lenses? Does
a diminished corneal reflex lead to a decrease in eye and overall health over
the long term?
one has definitive answers to these questions. But in my mind, it's never wise
to engage in any activities that go against our natural design. And having our
eyes learn to get used to wearing contact lenses clearly disrespects the corneal
reflex that all of us are born with.
other reason why I feel that wearing contact lenses is bad for eye health is that
contact lenses may disrupt the natural sloughing off of dead cells from the surface
of your eyes, which may increase your risk of experiencing eye infections.
You Absolutely Must Wear Contact Lenses...
you must wear contact lenses for one or more reasons, be sure to at least make
sure that you never wear them to sleep, even for short naps. Also, be sure to
meticulously follow cleaning instructions from your eye care professional and
from the manufacturer of the cleaning solution(s) that you use. With the worst
case scenario being permanent vision loss, it makes sense to follow these guidelines
consider sharing this article with family and friends who wear contact lenses
for cosmetic purposes only. Thank you.
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