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Contact Lenses and Bad Habits

There are many times where I find myself asking: Should I shower or swim with my contact lenses on? Should I sleep with my contact lenses on this one time? Should I clean my contact lenses with tap water? Or should I wear these expired contact lenses?

Wearing contact lenses does have its consequences and there are a few risks you need to know.


Swimming/showering with contact lenses

Oh boy, are we in for a good one. Have you ever thought to yourself and wondered “hmm.. nothing bad will happen if I shower/swim with my contact lenses on. I've done it before.” Well, this is something you might actually want to reconsider.

Acanthamoeba is a parasite that enters the eye and can cause a severe eye infection, or worse, loss of vision. These parasites are mostly found in water sources, such as swimming pools, hot tubs, and even tap water.

So how do they enter your eye?

When wearing contact lenses, the lens may accidentally rub against the surface of the eye and damage the cornea. The cornea is the thin clear outer layer of the eye. When the cornea is damaged, the parasite can enter your eye while you’re swimming and can cause an eye infection. The eye infection can lead to corneal ulcer, which is inflammation of the cornea.

Acanthamoeba infection


Symptoms include:

Treatments include antibiotic eye drops and pain medication. It is important to see an ophthalmologist if you suspect you have corneal ulcer. If left untreated, it can lead to vision loss or loss of an eye.


Sleeping with contact lenses

Sleeping with your contact lenses on can also have some negative effects. If you’ve ever slept with contact lenses on before, I’m sure you’ve experienced dry eyes, blurry vision, or both in the morning. There were many times that I’ve slept with my contact lenses on not knowing the risks, but after doing some research, this is something I will unaccustomed myself from doing.

Overwearing your contact lenses deprives the cornea from oxygen, which can lead to irritation, discomfort, and possibly a serious eye infection. Wearing contact lenses overnight can cause corneal neovascularization, which is the growth of immature new blood vessels in the cornea. This can cause temporary or permanent disruption in visual acuity and revolking contact lens privileges. Now we all know we don’t want that to happen.

Being aware of these possible consequences of contact lenses can prevent an eye infection from occuring. Click here for part 2 of this blog where we provide a brief step by step on contact lens hygiene.

Keywords: Acanthamoeba, contact lenses, colored contact lenses, contact lens fitting, contact lens hygiene, corneal ulcer, dry eyes, eye infections, eye inflammation, eye irritation, eye lenses, first time contact lens wearer, how to clean your contact lenses, negative effects of contact lenses, sleeping with contact lenses, swimming with contact lenses, torn contact lenses

Kathy Lau and Angel Salgado

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