You thought you knew what a contact lens was?
No, it’s not just a thin piece of plastic on your eye that helps you see better. It is a medical device that needs to be monitored, treated and cared for properly.
Did you know that your cornea, the front part of your eye, can only receive oxygen directly from the air? Other organs receive oxygen from blood, but your cornea has no blood vessels to allow you to see clearly. Contacts nowadays are more breathable and comfortable than ever, but the oxygen delivered still doesn’t compare to wearing no lens at all. When you overwear your contacts, the ability for the lens to deliver oxygen breaks down and you deprive your eye of needed nutrients, putting yourself at risk for some serious complications.
What do we mean by lens overwear?
It means you’re stretching out your lenses longer than you should be, i.e. wearing a 1-day lens for multiple days, a 2-week lens for longer than 2-weeks, and a monthly lens for longer than 30 days. The days count from when you open the package, NOT how many times you actually wear your lens. For example, if you only wear a monthly lens for 3 days out of the week, you still need to toss it 30 days after opening the blister pack.
Why do we overwear them?
Sometimes cost, sometimes convenience, often both. You paid $600 for a year supply? You’re thinking maybe if you stretch the lenses out, that $600 lasts over two years, and you’ll even get to skip an eye exam! Also you like waking up with clear vision, so you sleep in your lenses.
The reality is, if you’re doing the above, you’re taking your eyes for granted. All it takes is the right set of circumstances for a potentially blinding situation to occur and you won’t be able to see at all, even with contacts. Plus, the cost to treat these conditions can exceed the amount you tried to save by overwearing your contacts.
We’ve had patients who thought nothing bad would ever happen to them from lens overuse, and then it did. Stay tuned for Part 2!