Contact Lens Associated Problems
What Are Contact Lenses?
Contact lenses provide a safe and effective way to correct vision when used with care and proper hygiene. They are thin, curved plastic disks designed to cover the cornea which is the clear front covering of the eye.
Which Are The Eye Conditions That Contact Lenses Can Correct?
Contact lenses are used to correct similar conditions that spectacles correct including myopia (shortsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism (distorted vision) and presbyopia (old-age vision). Contact lenses are sometimes used therapeutically in eye diseases where an uneven cornea blurs vision, such as keratoconus or scarring.
What Are The Different Types Of Contact Lenses Available?
Soft Contact Lenses
Majority of contact lens wearers in Singapore use soft lenses which are made of plastic materials that incorporate water. The water makes them soft and flexible. Some soft contact lenses are extended-wear lenses designed for overnight use. Although these lenses are more convenient, it is preferably not worn overnight as people who wear any type of lenses overnight (extended wear) have a higher chance of developing infections of the cornea.
Disposable Soft Contact Lenses
Disposable lenses are discarded and replaced daily or weekly. They are convenient and may reduce the chance of allergic reactions and deposit formation. Preferably, one should avoid wearing disposable lenses overnight.
Toric Contact Lenses
Toric lenses correct astigmatism. They are available in both rigid and soft materials.
Rigid Gas Permeable Lenses
Newer rigid plastic lenses are combined with other gas permeable materials and allow oxygen in the air to pass directly through the lens. These lenses tend to cause less allergy and allow more oxygen to reach the cornea than soft lenses.
What Are The Do-s And Don't-s Of Contact Lens Wear?
- Always wash hands before handling contact lenses.
- Always clean and disinfect contact lenses properly after each use.
- Clean and air-dry the contact lenses case everyday. Wash and boil the lens case once a week and replace the lens cases regularly.
- Follow the lens care instructions of your eye-care professional exactly.
- Do not reuse solutions. Discard used solutions immediately.
- Do not use home-made saline.
- Do not store contact lenses in non-sterile fluids such as distilled water or tap water.
- Do not wear an over-aged or damaged contact lens.
- Arrange for periodic eye examination (at least once a year) by an eye-care professional.
- Check with your eye-care professional or doctor before you apply any eye drops, as any eye drops, including non-prescription ones, can interact with all types of contact lenses.
- Remove the lens immediately if the eye turns red or uncomfortable while wearing contact lenses. If the problem persists, consult your eye-care professional or doctor immediately.
Who Should Not Wear Contact Lenses?
Most people who require vision correction can wear contact lenses. However, there are certain conditions that might prevent you from wearing contact lenses. These include dry eyes, frequent eye infections, severe allergies, working in a very dusty environment and inability to handle and care for the lenses.
Problems arising from wearing contact lenses
Contact lenses can cause a variety of problems ranging from mild to severe:
- Dry Eyes
- Allergic eye disease
- Distortion of the cornea
- Blood vessels growing in the cornea due to a lack of oxygen
- Scratches (abrasions) on the cornea
- Cornea infection which can lead to blindness if the infection is severe
Stop wearing your contact lenses if you experience discomfort and see an eye specialist if you experience eye redness, a drop in vision or pain in the eyes.