Contact Lens Care

The Drawbacks Of Wearing Contact Lenses


Contact lenses have many benefits, but, unlike glasses, they are not for everyone. They lead to a higher risk of eye health problems and are not always as convenient as glasses. The following are a few of the drawbacks to wearing contact lenses. These risks should be taken inconsideration before the final decision to wear contacts is made.

Contacts can be irritating to the eyes, causing them to dry out quickly. This is usually due to inadequate tear production. The highest risk contact lenses wearers take is developing a corneal ulcer. Complications from corneal ulcers can lead to blindness. In a given year, there are about 12,000 corneal ulcers among contact lens wearers.

Rigid lenses can cause abrasions to the cornea if the lenses are worn for too many hours during the day. The same problem shows up if the wearing time is built up too quickly during the adaptation period. Lenses that are too tight fitting can make the problem worse. Signs that your eye is torn or scratched include pain and tearing. Application of antibiotic cream and an eye patch will usually cause the symptoms to go away within 24 hours.

Rigid lenses take more time to get used to as they are made of a harder plastic than soft lenses. The adaptation period is usually a week of gradually building up wearing time. Rigid lenses can also pop out of the eye during rigorous activity, although newer designs have minimized this. Another problem with rigid lenses can also slide off of the cornea and get hidden under the eyelid. The lens cannot float to the back of the eye, but it can be troublesome to find the lens and get it back in the right place.

Wearers of soft contact lenses can develop sensitivity of the eye and lid to either the maintenance products used or to mucus that develops over the lens itself. Symptoms of this sensitivity include less lens movement, redness of the conjunctiva and increased mucus production. If a person develops this sensitivity, it is generally recommended that the eyes be given a break for several months to desensitize. After the eyes heal, new contacts can be worn and a different maintenance product should be used.

Another complication of soft lenses is the increases risk of corneal ulcers due to the extended amount of time the lenses are worn. Extended wear lenses put the eyes at an eight times higher risk for corneal ulcers than daily wear lenses. Corneal ulcers can lead to permanent damage of the eye and possible blindness.

All contact lenses require a special care regimen. This regimen takes more time than simply taking off a pair of glasses. Contact lenses need to be cleaned, disinfected and soaked over night. The exception to this are disposables and extended wear lenses. In addition, contacts need to have the protein build up removed weekly by means of an enzyme preparation. Excess protein build up reduces the comfort level and can also cause eye irritations.

Misuse of contact lenses can lead to more eye problems. Misuse can cause temporary or permanent damage of the cornea. Daily wear lenses should never be worn over night as this can increase the chance of corneal infection. Any lenses worn overnight increase the chance of infection. Improper care and cleaning add to the chance of infection. Continual over-wearing of contacts can lead to intolerance and the wearer may have to give up wearing contact lenses altogether.

Contact lenses are more expensive than glasses. Rigid lenses are expensive at the initial purchase, but will last several years if maintained properly. Soft lenses need to be replaced frequently and generally require more maintenance products than rigid lenses. Some employers offer vision insurance to help defray the costs.

There are several drawbacks to wearing contact lenses that require serious thought and consideration. However, there are also many bonuses to wearing them. The decision to wear contact lenses is a personal choice. It is important to thoroughly research both the risks and the benefits before reaching a decision. Search out other contact lens wearers, as they will have plenty of advice and personal experiences to share. Most people find that the benefits outweigh the risks.