The Dangers of Contact Lenses
Contact lenses aren’t scary, or dangerous, at least not when fitted properly and taken care of.
There are many horror stories regaling the dangers of contacts, which, due to their gruesome memorability, might be more easily called to mind than the billions of normal, error-free occurrences of people safely wearing contacts every single day.
The types of stories that make the news, after all, do so precisely because they are interesting and atypical.
According to BuzzSumo, one of the most shared articles about contact lenses in 2014 sported the headline Student Goes Blind After Keeping Her Contact Lenses in For Six Months and Microscopic Bug EATS Here Eyeballs
Of course you want to click on that headline (and I bet you just did), because it is so atypical (do you know anyone this has happened to? Probably not), and at the same time way too horrific not to want to learn more about.
Another of 2014’s most shared article about contact lenses, Halloween Fancy dress contact lenses could cause BLINDNESS warn experts, is a vague article supported by one example, but contains a video with some good contact safety advice.
The video explains that many people are not aware that contacts are medical devices that you need a prescription for. Before purchasing contacts you need to be fitted by a licensed eye doctor since there is no such thing as a one size fits all contact lens and every eye is unique. It is actually illegal to buy contacts in the U.S. without a prescription!
The video also explains many people don’t know you shouldn’t sleep with contacts in, share them with friends, or that dirty lenses can carry bacteria that is harmful to your eyes. It then references the poor girl who did not know any of this information and now cannot see well at all anymore.
The first article provides another case study about a Taiwanese student who went blind after wearing the same pair of contacts continuously for 6 months. Her condition was caused by a lack of oxygen flowing to the eye, which created tiny wounds in her eye tissue where bacteria bred to ultimately permanently damage her vision.
Each year there are 6,000 similar cases of vision impairment caused by bacterial infection. This condition, also known as Microbial Keratitis, affects 5 in 10,000 contact wearers. Contact and non contact lens wearers alike can be affected, however contact lens wearers are at an increased risk due to the risk of bacteria becoming trapped in the lens if not cared for properly.
Everyone hears these case studies and statistics and thinks “this won’t ever happen to me”, and they are right, statistically, it probably won’t. Especially if they know how to take care of their lenses and get them properly fitted by a doctor.