Every day, we have patients asking us about the health of their eyes. Every day, our talented doctors take the time to educate them, settling their curiosities and helping to put their minds at ease when it comes to the abnormalities of ocular health. We began to realize the questions asked are relevant to many patients, some of who are either too shy to ask, or it slips their mind until long after they've completed their exam.
Today, we sit down with Dr. Raymond Ho, one of our licensed optometrists at Glass Monocle Eyecare, and discussed a very frequent question that we get asked a lot of times.
Contact lens wearers range from teenagers to seniors; many people enjoy the convenience of not wearing frames on their face for evening events, being active, or just to change the way they look.
However, there are things to be cautious about when wearing contact lenses, especially for extended periods of time. What are three of the most common issues contact lens wearers will encounter? Dr. Raymond Ho outlines them below:
1) Dry Eyes
We have a tear film that is found on the surface of the cornea (the clear part/dome of the eye) that keeps our eyes lubricated and healthy. When the tear film is disrupted, for example by having a piece of plastic on the eye, it can cause our eyes to feel dry. Some of these dryness symptoms include irritation, burning sensation, and foreign body sensation. Although there have been technological advances in how the contact lenses are made, dryness may still occur if we overwear and/or abuse our contact lenses. Therefore it is important to see your optometrist to have a proper contact lens fit where they can discuss different modalities of wear time (ie daily disposables, biweeklies, monthlies), ensure vision is optimally corrected, and an adequate fit is achieved. And if there are any other underlying conditions that cause dryness on the eyes, that those are managed as well. A few suggestions if you experience dry eyes with contact lens wear is to use artificial tear lubricating eye drops that are contact lens compatible. Wear your contact lenses based on the schedule and cleaning regimen recommended by your optometrist. And see your optometrist for a proper contact lens fit to ensure success.
2) Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC)
GPC is commonly seen in contact lens wearers who experience irritation, foreign body sensation, and discomfort when wearing contact lenses. We would see small bumps when checking under your lower and upper lids that look like a cobblestone pattern. These bumps are a result of the mechanical irritation from the inner portion of the eyelids rubbing with the contact lenses as we blink throughout the day. This gives rise to an allergic/inflammatory response. We generally see this in patients who are full time contact lens wearers (5-7x / week). Treatment for GPC includes discontinuing lens wear for 1-2 weeks, and possibly a steroid eye drop as prescribed by your optometrist.
3) Contact Lens Discomfort
Discomfort from contact lenses can be due to several factors including those mentioned above. Others to think about include ensuring the contact lens is not inside out, or if any lint/dust is trapped within the surface of the lens. Also length of wear time may cause discomfort. For example, a monthly lens may start to become intolerable to wear at the 3 week mark due to dryness, protein and lipid deposits on the lenses, and GPC. Or the contact lens itself may not be an adequate fit. It is important to have a contact lens fit exam by your optometrist to ensure the proper contact lens is recommended and fits well on your individual eyes.
Do you have any questions for our doctors? Feel free to comment below and we'll add it to our segments!