Just yesterday, I met four different people with the same story. They all told me they had the same pair of contacts in their eyes for the last four months.
As an eye doctor, that’s a scary thought. Contact lens abuse can lead to permanent vision loss, which makes the risks way too high to be taken lightly. I try to educate my patients on the importance of proper lens wear but often times people need to learn for themselves.
Another gentleman I met yesterday told me he used to abuse his contacts, but after a serious and quite painful eye infection, he decided to give up contacts for two years. Now he wears them appropriately and hasn’t had a problem since.
I wanted to point out these stories for a frame of reference. Yesterday afternoon, I had a patient come in with a red, painful eye. She also wears her lenses too long and occasionally sleeps in them. She had a corneal ulcer right in the center of her vision. The way ulcers heal, they usually leave a scar which blocks your vision and permanently affects your best acuity. Luckily she came in right away and we started her on aggressive treatment, hopefully lessening the potential complications.
Glasses may be a necessity, but contact lenses are a luxury.
I hope this served as a reminder of the possible life-altering pitfalls of contact lens abuse and why it’s so important to respect your lenses. Too many people have forgotten that eye care is not a commodity, and you only get one set of eyes. So be careful and smart to make sure those eyes last a lifetime.
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