The Truth about Contact Lenses

While contact lenses can be a great solution to those who find glasses exasperating, they still come with their irksome traits. Such as, dealing with the daily hassle of popping them in and out, and of course, ensuring that you are cleaning them to reduce the risk of eye infections and irritation as best as possible. It’s all enough to make you turn to a different solution. It’s at this point that most patients start to look into Laser Eye Surgery. Not only does it offer itself as a permanent solution, but it also comes with a lower risk.

“In a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology a few years ago, sight-threatening infections from contact lens use occurs in one in 2,000 contact lenses wearers, but only one in 10,000 patients risk significant vision loss due to complications from LASIK,” says Dr. Kerry Solomon, President of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery and a member of the American Refractive Surgery Council.

Most patients are shocked to find out that Laser Eye Surgery is safer than wearing contact lenses. If you are unsure whether surgery is right for you, here are some common misconceptions of wearing lenses.

Published data shows that people who wear contact lenses daily have a one in a hundred risk of developing bacterial keratitis, an infection that can lead to a sight-threatening outcome. Patients who fail to clean their lenses properly and wear throughout the night have an even greater risk.

A motivating factor for a lot of patients turning to contact lenses is to find a solution to continue their active lifestyles. However, contact lenses can be just as much as a hindrance in these settings. For example, playing high impact sports like Rugby can result in a contact lens falling out at just the wrong time. If the sport involves sand, snow or dirt, exposure to these elements can cause eye damage or infection. Additionally, wearing contact lenses when partaking in water sports can be risky. Unfortunately, the natural elements can hinder activities when wearing contacts, dirt and dust contaminating them can be a real issue for hikers and backpackers, etc., -not to mention the nuisance of carrying all of the accoutrements that go along with wearing contact lenses.

Many risks are controlled with regular check-ups. Often there can be complications that the patient will be entirely unaware of, but early symptoms can be detected by a clinician.

Corneal hypoxia (oxygen deprivation), for example, is a long-term complication that a lens user might be oblivious to, but a professional will be able to detect changes in the cornea and prevent it from progressing further by discontinuing use.

With good habits and a careful routine, contact lens wearers can mitigate some, but not all, of the risks. Certainly, contact lenses must be considered as medical devices which require proper supervision and management to avoid damaging our most precious of the senses: we only get one pair of eyes.

Read about Lucy Garrod’s story and how wearing contact lenses seriously affected her vision:

Ask us a question below to find out more about our screening program, or if you’d like to book a consultation with us, give us a call us on 020 7224 1005.