Wearing Contact Lenses

Complications of Contact Lens

 Contact lenses are commonplace devices used instead of glasses. They are also used for cosmetic purposes. The complications of contact lenses may arise directly or indirectly. Some complications may arise due to improper use or management of contact lenses while others may arise due to trauma to the surface of the cornea. Keeping contact lens clean and following the proper method for wearing contact lenses is very much important.

There are complications that will lead to blindness.No doubt contact lenses are a source of beautification but on the other hand, there are drastic complications related to it.

  • Not washing hands before touching contact lenses.
  • Using tape water for washing the lenses.
  • Not following proper duration of the contact lens application.
  • Keeping long nails.
  • Not checking the contact lenses regularly for any scratches or damage.
  • Not replacing contact lens solution in due time.
  • Using contact lenses of another person.
  • Not cleaning the contact lens case for long time.
Wearing of contact lenses

The complications of contact lens use are as followed

1. Microbial keratitis:

Any abrasion on the surface of the cornea can be a source of microbial invasion.
Although the intact cornea is not vulnerable to organisms. There are certain organisms that can also invade a normal cornea, these included Neisseria group, Hemophilus influenzas and Corynebacterium.

a. Symptoms:

The complication of microbial keratitis arises with

  • Painful eye
  • Redness
  • Watering and the condition worsen with the removal of the lenses.

b. Treatment:

It is a medical emergency and aggressive treatment should be applied by your
health professional. No intervention should be made at home

2. Corneal edema:

The major bulk of oxygen supply to the cornea is provided by the atmosphere. The
contact lenses with poor oxygen permeability or poor lens fit may lead to corneal
hypoxia, appearing as corneal edema.

Treatment involves exchange of the contact lens with the one with high oxygen

3.  Toxic keratopathy:

Toxic keratopathy is caused by the disinfectant and enzymes used in contact lens solution. Symptoms include painful red-eye and blurring of vision. The substance used in the lens solution might be a source of allergic reaction a.

a. Symptoms:

Symptoms include

  • Painful red eye.
  • Blurring of vision.

c. Treatment:

Treatment involves cessation of contact lens use and using preservative-free artificial tears and education of proper CL use.

4.  Tear film disturbance:

Tear film disturbance is caused due to poor blink response. The normal tear spread over the cornea is widely disturbed. The poor fit of contact lenses is the major cause of this condition.

Treatment involves preservative-free artificial tears and rechecking the contact lens fit.

5. Contact lens acute eye:

Contact lens when used overnight will lead to extreme discomfort and red-eye.

Treatment involves removal of the contact lenses and discontinuation of extended wear contact lens.

6. Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis:

Extended duration of contact lens will lead to itching, mucoid discharge, and giant papillae under the upper eyelid.

Treatment involves stopping or reducing the duration of contact lens use. The health care provider will prescribe mast cell stabilizers and preservative-free artificial tears.

7. Neovascularization:

These are the overgrowth of the limbal vessels at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions of the limbus. Neovascularization of 2 to 3 mm is normal in chronic lens users.

Treatment involves the exchange of the contact lens with high oxygen permeability.

8. Spectacle blur:

The spectacle correction in people using contact lens for prolong period is incorrect. It is a normal phenomenon.

9. Corneal hypoesthesia:

Continues or prolong use of contact lenes may lead to sensitization of the corneal surface for the foreign body such as contact lens. This will lead to the overall reduced sensitivity of the cornea.

10. Corneal de- epithelization:

Contact lens use changes the morphology of the corneal epithelium. This will result in
the formation of microcysts, corneal abrasions, punctate epithelial erosions. Treatment involves the temporary cessation of the contact lens and adjuvant antibiotic therapy may be advised.

11.  Other complications:

Other complications include abnormalities of corneal epithelium, loss of lens under the eyelids, accommodative effects (myopes need to accommodate more when switched from glasses to contact lenses), and aberration.

Dr Sadia Ayaz
Dr Sadia Ayaz

I am an ophthalmologist and eye surgeon

Articles: 47

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