DALLAS, Texas. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Forty-one million Americans wear contact lenses and a third of them report at least one visit to the doctor because of red or painful eyes. Often the culprit is poor hygiene or misuse of the lenses. Sometimes it gets so bad that it requires surgery.
As an aircraft mechanic, 26-year-old Rebekah Fraser depends on her eyes. Yet, for years she slept in her contact lenses, developing ulcers on her eyes.
Fraser told Ivanhoe, “I had the kind of contacts that you were supposed to take out every night and clean them and let them sit in the morning, and I never did that, I just slept with them in.”
Jeffrey Whitman, M.D., an ophthalmologist at Key Whitman Eye Centers in Dallas, Texas, explained, “There’s a much higher rate of infection and corneal ulcers with this that can have a permanent impact in your vision if they are not treated. Becka was legally blind without wearing some type of prescription eye wear.” (Read Full Interview)
Dr. Whitman performed Lasik surgery, traditionally done to correct near-sightedness, but in Becka’s case, it also reshaped her cornea and saved her vision.
“She saw 20/20 the next day and she could already tell as soon as she got up from the procedure table that she could see better already,” detailed Dr. Whitman.
Fraser said, “It’s made a huge impact on my life. It’s helped with work, it’s helped with play, and it’s helped with driving. It’s helped with everything. It still surprises me, like there will be days where I am like, yeah, I can still see, there’s no problems with it, I can still see.”
To prevent eye infections and more serious vision problems, doctors remind patients not to sleep in contact lenses. Also, don’t top off old solution with new solution, and replace contact lenses when recommended.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Don Wall, Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Mark Montgomery, Videographer.
MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGHS – RESEARCH SUMMARY
TOPIC: Correcting Contact Lens Damage
REPORT: MB #4203
BACKGROUND: Contact lenses are normally very safe, when you follow the usage guidelines. But wearing them can damage your eyesight, if worn improperly. They should not be worn for too long, have to be cleaned regularly and properly, and need to be replaced based on the manufacturers’ guidelines. Contact lenses can potentially harm eyes by depriving them of oxygen, hence the reason for removing and discarding them as directed. They can also cause eye damage because infectious agents and bacteria can accumulate on them; this applies especially as a contact ages, both on the front and back of the surface. Even with proper contact lens care, risk of eye infections can remain, especially fungal eye infections.
SYMPTOMS AND PREVENTION: The earlier you are aware of symptoms related to issues with your vision and use of your contact lenses, the more likely you are to avoid permanent damage from fungal eye infections. Symptoms can include eye irritation or discharge, swelling around the eye and eyelid, pain, tearing or red eyes. You could feel like something is clouding the surface of your eye, resulting in blurred vision; you may even suffer from vision loss. Also, you can develop sensitivity to light. Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling your contact lenses. Rinse your lenses case with fresh solution and let it air dry between uses. Never top off old solution with new solution, always throw it away completely. And always rub your contacts when rinsing them with disinfecting solution, including “no-rub” products.
NEW TECHNOLOGY: LASIK or “laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis” is the most popular surgery to correct common vision problems. It is used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. The procedure reshapes the cornea to enable light that enters the eye to be properly focused onto the retina which results in clearer vision. In most cases, it’s pain-free and completed within 15 minutes. The results are improved vision without having to use contacts or eyeglasses, and the difference can be seen in as little as 24 hours. This procedure is not new, but the concept that it can be used for correcting vision issues that stem from infections caused by improper use of contact lenses is new information. When eye infections and fungus occur, they can obscure a persons’ vision and cause all sorts of problems, including damaging the cornea. LASIK surgery can actually reshape corneas, so in some cases it can be used to correct damage as a result of complications with contacts.
(Source: http://www.allaboutvision.com/visionsurgery/ )
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