If you are one of the 38 million Americans who rely on wearing corrective lenses to improve your vision, it can be tempting to wear them for longer than is recommended because of the convenience they bring you. But, your eyes and vision can be at risk when you wear your contacts for longer than is recommended. As it is healthy to rest your eyes from wearing contacts, you should remove them and wear your eyeglasses periodically to avoid eye infections. Here is a common eye infection you can get from extending the time you wear contacts instead of wearing your eyeglasses, and what you need to know about it.
Causes of Keratitis
An inflammation of your cornea, the clear dome covering the colored part of your eye, is called keratitis and can be caused by several factors. The largest risk factors for this type of infection are not caring for your contact lenses the right way and wearing them for too long.
If you wear your contact lenses overnight, you are more than 20 times more likely to get keratitis. While you are sleeping, even during a nap, your eye lid remains over the surface of your contact lens, and prevents the lens from getting the right amount of moisture. Then, your eyelid holds the lens onto your eye, which can create a suction between your cornea and the contact. When you wake after sleeping, your contacts may feel dry and as if they are stuck to your eyes. When you remove the lenses, the removal can scratch or irritate the lenses of your corneas. Then over time, these scratches can become more irritated and inflamed, resulting in keratitis.
Other causes of keratitis, besides wearing your contacts day and night, are reusing contact lens solution and not cleaning your lenses properly every day. This results in bacteria getting into your eye, causing an infection. You can also get Acanthamoeba keratitis, which is when you have an amoeba in your eye. This is caused by using contaminated water on your contact lenses, swimming while you wear your lenses, or wearing your lenses while in a hot tub.
If your eyes feel irritated, become red and inflamed, or you have light sensitivity or blurred vision, see your eye doctor immediately. Keratitis is the most serious complication of wearing contact lenses and needs to be treated as soon as possible.
Your doctor will advise you to stop wearing your lenses and wear your eyeglasses while the infection heals. Depending on the cause of your keratitis, you may need antibacterial, antifungal, or antiviral therapy to treat the infection. This therapy can be in the form of pills, prescription eyedrops, or intravenous therapy. If you don't treat keratitis, you can end up with corneal scarring and vision impairment, or you may need a cornea transplant.
To prevent keratitis, it is best to follow your eye doctor's guidelines for caring for your contact lenses and be sure to rest your eyes by periodically wearing eyeglasses. The CDC recommends having and always carrying with you a pair of eyeglasses to wear when you remove your contact lenses. Then, remove your contacts before you swim, go in the hot tub, or shower.
Never use tap water or your saliva to clean your lenses as they can place bacteria in your eye. Only use contact lens solution to rub and rinse your lenses. Then, dry your contact lens case and store it upside down with the caps off so the interior can dry out. You should replace your lens case at least every three months.
Use this information to help you prevent or get treatment for your keratitis.
A few years ago, I began experiencing red, itchy patches on my eyelids and forehead. I began applying moisturizer to my face at this time. Unfortunately, it didn’t help my condition. My trusted physician informed me I might be suffering from the skin disorder psoriasis. This caring individual prescribed a medicated cream for me. Thankfully, the cream soothed my itchy, inflamed skin. If you have an unexplained, skin condition that isn’t responding to home remedies, make visiting your doctor soon a priority. On this blog, I hope you will discover the most common types of skin conditions people seek professional treatment for. Enjoy!