Contact Lenses and Keratitis

Close up putting in contacts

When we decided that Chloe, our eldest daughter, was ready to wear contact lenses, we made sure she was well-informed on how to properly care for them.  She likes to keep things neat, so the care regiment came quite easy for her. Contact lens care is incredibly important!

Since she is an active member of the school’s swim team, the convenience that contact lenses offer was hard to resist. It gave her freedom to do the things she loves such as swimming and other active sports. While they are safely used by millions worldwide, contact lenses do carry a risk of eye infection if neglected. Chloe has both monthly disposable contact lenses (which she cleans every night for optimal contact lens care) as well as daily disposable contacts for swimming.

We are glad our daughter is diligent in knowing about the risks involved. She did some research and learned that poor hygiene may lead to an infection of the cornea called “keratitis”. Primarily from poor hygiene, this is caused by bacteria, viruses, and other microbes are transferred to and reside in the contact lenses and case.

Chloe knows better than to sleep with contacts in. She is aware of the symptoms associated with infectious keratitis such as blurry and fluctuating vision, eye redness, excessive tearing, and light sensitivity. There was a time she woke up, felt that something was stuck in her eye, and thought she had slept with her contacts. My husband and I took turns checking, and indeed there was something in her eye. It turns out she had an actual foreign object in her eye, an eyelash!

Chloe has a dedicated space in her room and in the bathroom for changing lenses. She says having a clean surface underneath can make it easy for her to find a lens in case she drops them! She once dropped them in the sink and told us she threw it out right after. When this unlikely event happens, she says it’s very tempting to take the lenses under running water. Luckily, Chloe is aware that doing this can further damage the lenses as tap water is full of contaminants. The proper way to clean contact lenses is to use a multi-purpose contact lens solution and soak them overnight to disinfect. Using fresh disinfecting solution to clean and disinfect the lenses daily is a must.  It’s also good to carefully check the lens for signs of rips and dirt to ensure that the lenses are in good condition.  When Chloe’s swimming season starts, we will change to daily disposable contacts so that the pool water that is splashed onto the contacts do not affect her eye health, as the contacts will be discarded immediately after her swim sessions.  

Chloe’s active lifestyle means that contact lenses work well for her. As long as she continues to practice proper contact lens care and maintenance, we all have confidence that Chloe’s eyes will safely maintain their health!

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