Contact lenses are the marmite of eyewear; often evoking a ‘love them or hate them’ reaction. Via a recent wave of bad press, the ‘hate’ camp has gathered steam – with contacts portrayed by the media as a health risk. So what is the truth? Are contact lenses really bad for your eyes? Or can these perils be avoided?
You may have read the story of 33 year old Aimee McWilliams – a London fashion designer who, having used contacts on a daily basis for nearly twenty years, made a shocking discovery at a routine eye examination. She was informed that her sight was in significant danger. In fact, she could lose it entirely. It’s a frightening tale, and little wonder that a young woman facing the prospect of blindness made the headlines.
But this is, of course, only one side of the story. Around 3.7 million people wear contacts, and not all of them risk losing their sight. Yet there is an important lesson to be learned from the extreme experience of the few – so you can avoid the perils before it is too late.
Can you relate to Aimee’s story?
Aimee’s story is not an unfamiliar one. Her excessive use of contact lenses – of more than eight hours per day – describes the bad habits of many other wearers too. But as she found out the hard way, persistent use can starve the eye of oxygen, causing significant damage in the process.
Did you know that the cornea is the only part of the body that gets its oxygen supply from the air, instead of the bloodstream? For Aimee, that meant blood vessels began to grow on the cornea to compensate for a lack of air; obscuring the vision in the process. When contacts are removed, the vessels collapse but scarring can cause permanent damage. And worryingly, the signs are often not apparent until the problem has developed.
If you can relate to Aimee’s excessive use, then you need to make a change – right now. If you are concerned about how you are using your contact lenses, please gives us a call or book an appointment with one our contact lens opticians.