Having bad eyesight has always been common in the general population, with about 75% of adults requiring some form of vision correcting assistance on a day-to-day basis. Glasses can be an affordable solution for most situations, but contact lenses are often preferable when it comes to sports, a day at the beach, formal events, or outdoor activities. There have been a few disaster cases with contact lenses over the past few years, but the market has stayed more relevant than ever due to its general attention to safety. Regardless, it’s important to address the side effects and danger of contact lenses should you decide to use them regularly.
How Contact Lenses Are Made
There are two ways contact lenses are made, either by lathe cutting or injection molding.
Lathe cutting is a process when plastic disks are spun and shaped at a steady rotation (kind of like pottery), controlled with computerized cutting tools. Before completion, the sculpted plastic goes through polish and hydration, followed by internal quality testing.
Injection molding on the other hand uses heat instead. Sculpting plastic in its liquid state and shaped via molds. Despite plastic being the most well-known material, companies have developed “soft” hydrogel lenses, primarily out of silicone that aims to provide better comfort and performance.
How to Use Contact Lens Properly?
Dirt in your contact lenses are extremely dangerous for the eyes; which means thorough washing of hands before making contact with your lenses is essential.
Soft contact lenses are more popular these days, and making sure that they aren’t inverted is the next step. If inverted, the contacts will fall right off your eyes and unfasten themselves from your eye with every other blink. How you can tell is if the rim of your lens is pointing outwards slightly, rather than being perfectly cupped.
Next step would be to widen your eyelids with your fingers till the eye is fully uncovered. It will be intimidating at first to put a foreign object into your eyeball daily, but over time, it will be a seamless process.
Contact lenses should be removed daily and should not be kept on over 12 hours per day. Depending on the type of contact lens you’ve bought, the daily brands can be discarded after removal, while monthlies will have to be properly sanitized and safely kept.
What Happens If I Wear Contacts For Too Long?
One of the biggest side effects of prolonged contact lenses use is its reduction of oxygen flow in the cornea. There’s an official term for that and it’s called “Corneal Neovascularization”. When cutting off oxygen, your eyes will begin to create new blood vessels to continue the appropriate flow of fluids - if the blood vessels were to increase haphazardly, this could result in long-term eye damage by gradually preventing light from reaching the cornea. The effects won’t be noticeable immediately, but over time, your vision will deteriorate and the damage will be irreversible.
Conjunctivitis, or as many have called it, “Pink Eye” is a short-term problem that may immediately arise if your contacts are left on longer than needed. Inflammation of the conjunctiva (which is the membrane that surrounds the white in your eyes) will cause the notorious pink puffiness that results in itching, fluid discharge, and pain. Certainly a side effect worth putting on regular glasses for.
Contact lens hygiene is critical to understand before taking up this journey, as a slip-up in this department can lead to disastrous results.
Attention to sanitizing and cleaning your contact lenses should be a priority if you go for weekly or monthly versions. DO NOT use tap water or to a certain extent, bottled water to clean your lenses.
With these sources, bacteria will be in abundance and allowing it to contaminate your lenses will result in the aforementioned symptoms from earlier while introducing additional eye infection symptoms. Such results include redness, swelling, sticky tears, blurry vision, light sensitivity, pain, and itching.
Contact Lens Brands
Many have opted to go for colored lenses without prescriptions to spice up their aesthetics, but knock-off brands fall under this category too and can pose a risk of infections too. Searching for officially licensed optometrists and ophthalmologists that sell credible products can be the difference between years of safety and regular eye infections. As long as you’ve committed to products sold officially, there shouldn’t be much else to worry about in terms of branding. Some key names to look out for include Acuvue, Air Optix Dailies, Soflens, and Biofinity.