Those who are not a big fan of wearing spectacles, count upon contact lenses to get that perfect vision. They are not only hassle-free but are much more comfortable and stylish. There is a large user base of contact lenses in India. As per Euromonitor International, the contact lenses are predicted to exhibit a retail value of CAGR 13% with sales of Rs 11 Billion at a constant 2016 prices by 2021. In spite of a large user base, people are still unaware about the care, storage and reuse of the contact lenses which might result in serious eye infections like keratitis, scarred cornea, and corneal transplant or in severe cases, may cause a reduction in vision.
Poor hygiene, poor maintenance, and reuse of the solution are the three main factors that contribute to various eye infections.
Keratitis is an infection of the cornea which is caused due to herpes, bacteria, and fungus. It is one of the most serious infections caused due to contact lenses. If not treated on time, it can have adverse effects on the vision. Keep your eyes open for symptoms like-
-Blurred Vision -Continuous pain in the eye -Tearing or discharge from the eye
-Light sensitivity – Redness in the eye -Excessive eye pain -Vision problems
Keratitis can be of three types-
- Bacterial Keratitis: It develops very quickly due to infection of the contact lenses or an injury in the eye. Staphylococcus Aureus bacteria and Pseudomonas Aeruginosa bacteria are responsible for causing this type of keratitis. In case the infection is superficial, there is no scar on the cornea but if there is any harm to deep corneal layers, a scar may be left which may or may not affect vision depending upon its position.
- Fungal Keratitis:Fusarium, Aspergillus or Candida are the main fungi that are responsible for fungal keratitis.
- Herpers Keratitis:It is caused due to Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). While Type I virus is highly contagious and is caused by skin contact causing cold sores, and fever blisters, Type II is sexually transmitted.
- Acanthamoeba Keratitis:The infection is caused due to parasites and can cause some serious infection. You should always avoid wearing lenses while swimming.
These infections can cause serious damage to your eye and hence, one should be cautious to protect his eyes by following certain guidelines.
Here are a few tips that can help you keep these infections under control.
- Avoid sleeping while wearing contact lenses. It increases the chances of eye infection by 6-8 times.
- Do not mix the old solution and new solution as it may lower down the germ killing effect drastically.
- Replace your contact lenses often. Refer ophthalmologists to take suggestions regarding the same.
- Avoid wearing extended wear lenses.
- Handle your contact lenses safely. Always wash your hands before handling lenses.
- Regularly wash your contact lenses storage case to eliminate all possibilities of bacterial and fungal infections.
- Do not wear contact lenses frequently. Consult your doctor to know about the prescribed limit.