Vision Health

Keeping an Eye on Dangerous Contact Lens Habits

8 Horror Stories That Will Make You Rethink Your Contact Lens Habits

Have you ever considered licking your contact lens when contact solution wasn’t available or buying contact lenses online to save money? Contact lenses are one of the safest options for vision correction, but that doesn’t mean people can take them for granted. Many of us can probably confess to some contact lens care transgressions, but the patient stories below may make you think twice before sleeping in your contacts after a late night out or running a lens under tap water to clean it.

Contact Lens Health Week is August 20-24, 2018 and the American Optometric Association (AOA) wants contact lens wearers to know the risks of bad contact lens habits and encourage healthy lens care.

  1. Contact lenses are medical devices, so only buy them from a trusted source: One patient began experiencing excruciating pain after purchasing contacts lenses from a flea market. The contact lenses were too tight and caused the corneas to swell and form a tight seal with the contact lenses. When the patient removed her lenses, she peeled off the barrier protecting her cornea. It took three days for her corneas to completely heal.

A man in his 20s had been buying contact lenses online without a prescription for over four years, but the lenses he purchased infected his eye, which caused permanent vision loss in one eye. Now, he can’t pass a driver’s test even with glasses and will require expensive specialty contact lenses for the rest of his life.

  1. Do your homework when it comes to online retailers: A college student landed in the emergency room with significantly swollen corneas, ultimately causing some permanent vision loss. The patient had been ordering contact lenses online after her prescription expired. Not only had her prescription changed, but the online supplier switched her to a brand that was “less expensive,” causing the damage to her eyes.
  1. Don’t sleep in your contacts, no matter how tired you are: A patient’s vision was permanently impaired after she developed an eye infection from sleeping in her contact lenses. Her doctor had initially prescribed contact lenses approved to sleep in several years earlier, but the patient purchased other contact lenses online that were not approved for overnight use.
  1. Go to your eye doctor for regular comprehensive eye exams: After purchasing contact lenses online without seeing a doctor of optometry for several years, a patient developed two large sores on her corneas because the lenses were too tight. She experienced severe light sensitivity and had to use dark glasses just to function inside causing her to miss more than a week of work. Even now, she continues to have problems with night glare.

Keep your contact lenses and case clean with contact solution ONLY: A woman in her 30s had not been to a doctor of optometry for a comprehensive eye exam in over four years when she went to her eye doctor complaining of severe eye pain, redness and light sensitivity. Her exam revealed permanent damage to the surface of her eye because she did not properly care for her contact lenses. She even had to get part-time disability benefits as she recovered.

  1. Never over-wear your contact lenses: One patient needed a twenty-thousand-dollar corneal transplant after he developed an ulcer on his cornea from over-wearing his lenses. He regained most of his vision after surgery but will have some permanent vision loss.

A high-school student needed to be hospitalized after continuing to wear contact lenses for three days on his injured eye. His eye was severely infected and filled with pus, and he required antibiotics to save the eye. He was lucky to only suffer from some permanent vision loss.

Samuel D. Pierce, O.D., was first elected to the American Optometric Association Board of Trustees in June 2009 and elected President in Denver, Colorado at the 121st Annual AOA Congress & 48th Annual AOSA Conference: Optometry’s Meeting® in June, 2018.

In addition to his duties as President, Dr. Pierce serves as liaison trustee to the American Academy of Optometry. His board liaison assignments include the Council on Research, Great Western Council of Optometry, Mountain West Council of Optometrists, North Central States Optometric Council, East/West, Southern Council of Optometrists, and the Universidad InterAmericana.

Prior to his election to the Board, Dr. Pierce served the AOA by volunteering his time to the Communications Advisory Group, Professional Relations Committee, Nominating Committee and the Student and New Graduate Committee. He is also past president of the Alabama Optometric Association and served as a member of the SECO Board of Trustees.

Dr. Pierce attended Birmingham-Southern College and is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry (UABSO) and a past president of the UABSO Alumni Association. In 2010, Dr. Pierce received the UABSO 2010 Alumnus of the Year award and in 2012 he received the Alabama Optometric Association’s Optometrist of the Year award.

Dr. Pierce has been in private practice in Trussville, Alabama for over 29 years.


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