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Contact Lenses

Contact Lenses
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Contact Lens Complications
Caring for Contact Lenses

Contact Lens Complications

The cornea is the clear, slim tissue that covers the iris and pupil. It is essential for the health of the cornea to receive a steady supply of oxygen. An inability of the cornea to get the oxygen it needs for optimal health is the leading cause of complications associated with the use of contact lens. The vast majority of individuals can wear contact lenses with no negative results. This is particularly true if contact lenses are cleaned and cared for properly and replacement schedules are followed.
Some complications resulting from contact lenses can be experienced in a small number of people. Some of these problems include those mentioned below.

Too little oxygen reaching the cornea

This is often experienced as a result of wearing contact lenses for too long a period. Symptoms may include redness of the eyes, blurred vision, pain and a sensitivity to light. To avoid complications, always follow the recommended replacement schedule for the brand of contact lenses being worn. If symptoms occur, immediately remove the contact lenses.

Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC)

This is an allergic disorder that occurs most often in people wearing soft contacts, although it can occur with wearers of RGP lenses and disposable lenses. GPC is particularly common with old contact lenses that have developed protein deposits. Symptoms include increased movement of the contacts on the eyes, itching and redness of the eyes. It these symptoms occur, remove the contact lenses and see an eye care practitioner to ensure that the contact lenses being worn are suitable for your eyes.

Corneal vascularization

A result of too little oxygen reaching the cornea is the development of tiny blood vessels in the cornea's clear tissue. It can cause blurred or cloudy vision. Those experiencing these symptoms should remove the contacts immediately and consult an eye care practitioner to determine if the brand of contact lenses is the problem, or if they are a poor candidate for contact lenses in general.

Corneal warping

The cornea's shape can change as a result of a lack of oxygen. This can result in unclear or clouded vision. This condition is most frequently experienced with hard contact lens wearers.

Bacterial infection

Infections of the cornea that develop into a corneal ulcer, although rare, are potentially very serious. These problems are most often associated with extended wear soft contacts and usually result from too little or improper cleaning of the contacts.

The National Eye Institute (A Division of the National Institutes of Health) offers excellent resources about vision, eye care and contact lenses. This site is available in both English and Spanish. The Optometrists Network provides detailed information for parents about children and vision care.

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