Sleeping with contact lenses on can cause blindness and permanent damage to eyes

1:08 pm Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine

Wearers must take proper precautions and care

New Delhi, 6 January 2019: Going to sleep without removing contact lenses can cause serious eye infections that may ultimately result in blindness, warns recent research. Improper care or wear can lead to infections of the cornea like microbial keratitis. Sleeping with the contact lenses is risky and can lead to infections, or in some cases, permanent damage.

Microbial keratitis is an infection on the cornea – the clear window on the front of the eye. It is often related to contact lens wear or, less commonly, due to a scratch on the surface of the eye or a pre-existing eye condition. Infection is more likely with incorrect contact lens cleaning or storage, incorrect use of disposable lenses or wearing lenses overnight.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Microbial keratitis can cause a red eye which is very painful and also result in blurred vision. If not managed on time, it can lead to the development of an ulcer on the surface of the cornea. Sometimes, this ulcer, starts appearing as a small white spot on the cornea over the coloured part of your eye. People who are contact lens users should not wear their contact lenses while an infection is present.* Even after it clears, it is imperative to consult the eye specialist on the way ahead and whether the use of lenses should be continued or not. We often ignore things like eye and dental health. However, not taking adequate care of these parts can sometimes lead to serious damage.”

People with diabetes or other pre-existing conditions should be more careful of how they treat their eyes. Any vision problems should be immediately reported to the doctor.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “When using any medication, it is important to keep to a schedule, and contact lenses are no different. When you are prescribed your lenses, the optician will recommend a routine. They will suggest the amount of time that lenses should be worn for and inform you about the right cleaning products to use, and how often. Short-sightedness is a natural condition which progresses with time and may eventually stabilize. If you wish to use contact lenses instead of spectacles, ensure that you take adequate care and precautions.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Always wash, rinse and dry your hands thoroughly before handling your lenses.
  • Do not re-use the lenses beyond their use time and never re-use daily disposable lenses.
  • Do not wear contact lenses when your eyes are red and sore.
  • Do not wear contact lenses while you are having a shower or a bath or going swimming.
  • Do not wear contact lenses while sleeping.
  • Do not bring your lenses into contact with tap water.
  • For non-daily disposable lenses, clean your lenses as advised, keep containers clean, and regularly change your containers and lens solutions.

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