8 Side Effects Of Over-Wearing Contact Lens

Written by Chaitra Krishnan, MA (Journalism & Mass Communication)  • 

Our eyes are the focal points of our face and they are the most beautiful feature that people notice first. But when we wear glasses, the beauty of our eyes gets masked and obviously, there’s no point in wearing good makeup because nobody is going to look at the details through the frames. This is why many of us ditch the glasses and go for its modern cousin, the contact lenses. There are numerable benefits of wearing contact lenses; like you don’t have to keep wiping the dirty lens and it doesn’t keep falling off your nose when you look down. But we cannot deny that most of us use them because they don’t change our appearance drastically unlike glasses. However, these advantages come with a huge list of negatives.

You may feel that it’s a waste of effort and time getting dressed up in a really pretty gown and then having to wear your burgundy framed glasses, isn’t it? Wearing contacts on such occasions is quite fine but the problem arises when you wear them regularly and for longer hours. If you are a contact lens user or if you’re switching soon, here are a few important side effects that you should be informed about.

1. It Hurts

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Oxygen is very important for your eyes; and contact lenses block them out for a long time (1). This is because they are placed directly on the cornea. Lack of oxygen might cause irritation and pain for regular contact lens users. This is why it is important to remove them as soon as you get back home and switch to your glasses.

2. Dust Gets Trapped

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When you wear contact lenses it’s extremely important to not let any dust get inside your eyes. When dust enters your eyes, your tears can easily clean them or you can just run to the washroom and wash your eyes. However, when you have lenses on, your tears may not be that effective in wiping out the dust that gets stuck to the plastic material. Also, you cannot wash your eyes immediately if you’re out or on the road because you’ve got to remove your lens first. This is a mess of a situation because you’ve got to put your lens back on the already irritated eye. Foreseeing such situations, it’s always good to carry your lens cleaning solution and your glasses as back up.

3. You May Get Dry Eyes

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Contact lenses absorb most of your natural tears to keep themselves soft, leaving your eyes dry. This might lead to dry eye syndrome which makes your eyes red and itchy (2). Your cornea may get scarred due to the constant drying and eye rubbing. To avoid this, use artificial eye drops that will keep your eyes away from dryness. Use the drops before you put the lenses on and as soon as you remove them. If you’re wearing them for longer hours, use the drops in between as well.

4. Allergies And Eye Infections

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Allergies and eye infections mainly happen due to corneal abrasion (3). These abrasions occur when the lens does not sit properly on your cornea. Make sure you use only good quality lenses and you always keep them clean.

5. Interact With Oral Contraceptives

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If your birth control method is oral contraceptives, you should probably stop using contact lenses or use them only occasionally. According to research, the combination of oral contraceptives and contact lenses can worsen the symptoms of dry eye syndrome in women (4). This is because the estrogen in these pills affects your tear glands and the production of tears.

6. Lower Corneal Reflex

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The corneal reflex is the brain’s way of telling us to close our eyes when something dangerous is coming closer like a gust of dusty wind or an object. This reflex may get diminished over time for those who are regular contact lens users. This might pose a serious threat because your eyelids won’t close as fast as they should when something dangerous is almost into your eyes (5).

7. Corneal Ulcer

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Contact lenses users are prone to corneal ulcers caused by bacteria known as Klebsiella pneumonia. This risk is higher for those who wear soft lenses regularly and for longer periods. To avoid such situations, remember to use your lenses only when necessary (6).

8. It’s Risky And High Maintenance

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You need to be very careful while using contact lenses because even a silly mistake can get you in trouble. For example, sleeping with your lenses on is dangerous and can lead to infections and serious medical conditions. Also, rubbing your eyes when you’re wearing contact lenses will cause scarring and irritation. You cannot cry too much because if there’s too much water in the eyes, your lens might just slip out. It’s also not a great idea to cook while you’re wearing lenses because the hot steam can melt the plastic lens that you’re wearing which can be dangerous to your eyes.

Contact lenses are amazing but it comes with a lot of risks. So, avoid them as much as possible and if you would still want to use them, use them responsibly and with extreme caution. Are you a regular contact lens user? Have you ever faced any of these side effects? Let us know in the comments.

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