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Can Contact Lenses Damage Your Eyes?

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Contact lenses are designed to improve vision and will not damage your eyes – as long as your follow the instructions given by your optometrist and buy them from a reputable provider.

Oxygen Supply

A sufficient oxygen supply is essential to keep eyes healthy. Prolonged use of contact lenses requires careful management, to ensure that oxygen supply is not limited. Current guidelines state that contact lenses should only be worn for up to eight hours a day; any longer and there is a risk to your eyes. As a contact lens sits directly on the eye, it will decrease the oxygen supply over time.

By sticking to a medically devised schedule and replacing or removing your lenses as directed, you can reverse and prevent the damage. There are lenses available which are manufactured from silicone hydrogel. These soft lenses allow for more oxygen to pass through than standard lenses. If you need to wear contacts for a long period of time, these may be safer for your eyes.

The final option is gas permeable contact lenses. These are designed to be much smaller than other lenses and so cover less of the surface of the cornea. As they are smaller, they are free to move slightly as you blink, which allows air to move behind the lens and refresh your eye.

Can Contact Lenses Damage Your Eyes?

Cleaning your Contact Lenses

Contact lenses and their cases can be home to bacteria, if not properly cleaned. The bacteria can cause infections in the eye, which can be damaging to vision if not quickly treated. Old lenses are more susceptible, as deposits of bacteria can gradually build on the back and front of the lenses. The risk is small – it is estimated that about 0.04% of contact lens wearers are affected – but, if not prevented, the risks can be devastating.

Contact lenses can be cleaned properly by using a recommended contact lens solution to disinfect the contacts after each use. You should stick to the brand which was recommended with your prescription; if you are having trouble, always check with a professional first. Multipurpose solutions are the most popular because they are able to both clean and disinfect the lenses in one go.

The lens storage box also needs to be kept clean to prevent bacteria build up. Contact lens solution is also designed to clean the case and will effectively disinfect when left to air dry in between each use. A case will not last indefinitely, so it is recommended that they are disposed of and replaced at least every three months.

The Replacement Schedule

Always follow the prescription and discard your contact lenses as directed. The longer you leave replacing your contacts, the longer residue will have to build up on the surface of the contacts. It is also important to take regular eye tests, as your prescription may change. If the contacts are causing any problems, a specialist may notice any slight issue before you have noticed any issues yourself.

Signs your Lenses could be Damaging your Eyes

There are some common signs of minor discomfort which are not uncommon for those who wear contact lenses, but there are some more serious signs of damage that you should look out for. Any type of eye pain, such as stinging, burning, over tearing, dry eyes, redness, sensitivity or reduced vision, can be signs of a problem.

If you start to notice any of these symptoms, you should remove the lens. If the discomfort stops when the lens is removed, it is the contacts which were causing the issue. If you do have any concerns about possible damage to your eyes, speak to a professional.

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