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contact lens hygiene

Over-wearing Contact Lenses

What follows is a tragic reminder of the importance of following the eye care directions. Contact lens over-wear can bring on diseases that cost your eyesight. An article in Newser, citing the China Post, tells of a 23 year old Chinese girl who is now blind because Acanthamoeba keratitis infected her eyes during a prolonged, excessive wearing of her contacts for at least six months without removal. In this time the delicate tissue on the surface of the eye became infected through tiny abrasions caused by over-wearing contacts and microscopic amoeba that found their way into her eye feasted until it was too late to stop the damage or restore the sight. These amoebic infections are said to account for up to 95% of the reported infections.

Three things went wrong for this young lady. First, she didn't follow standard instructions to remove and sanitize (or replace in use) her contact lenses on anything near the schedule proposed by eye care professionals and the manufacturer. Secondly, she wore her contacts in the presence of spa or pool water where it is likely she contracted the infection while washing her face (ICK). And thirdly, by the time she noticed the pain and obscured vision, it was already too late - the damage could not be reversed. Had she sought medical help sooner doctors may have been able to limjt the damage to her eyesight. Unfortunately, this type of eye infection occurs more frequently to people wearing contact lenses and much more frequently to those who don't follow suggested wearing intervals and sanitizing instructions. And, eye diseases like this one is more unkind to those who do not follow proper wearing intervals, who fail to follow sanitizing rules, and to those who fail to adhere to recommended lens replacement schedules. Sleeping in contacts and not removing and sanitizing the lenses periodically, or replacing them on a wear replacement schedule, deprives the delicate tissues of the eye and cornea of the oxygen that helps nourish the eye.

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