If you wear contact lenses, you may be at risk of developing a severe eye infection and going blind. Well, this is only if you condone risky behavior. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly all of the 41 million estimated Americans who wear contact lenses say that they engage in one behavior – at minimum – that could increase their overall risk of developing an infection in the eye. What is the one type of behavior that people are committing and shouldn't be? Read on to find out.
One Risky Behavior Can Lead to Serious Eye Troubles
Roughly 50 percent of the individuals who responded to the CDC's survey admitted to wearing their contacts while sleeping, which is a big no-no because it can increase your risk of an eye infection by at least five times, possibly more. More specifically, overnight wear increases the risk of developing an infection of the cornea. In fact, the Huffington Post reported about one guy who went blind in one eye from leaving his contact lenses in overnight for just one night. When it takes only 30 seconds or so to remove your contacts, would you really want to take the risk of something like that happening?
How Does This Happen?
The cornea gets its oxygen from the air – the same air that you breathe. So, when you put your contacts in, you are reducing the supply of oxygen that your cornea is getting. When your eyes are closed, the oxygen supply is lessened even more. When this is all combined, your eyes aren't getting much oxygen. This causes the cornea to swell, allowing bacteria to make its way in and potentially resulting in clouded vision, red eyes and pain.
On top of that, if you don't clean your lenses and your lenses case as well as you should (after every use, according to the CDC), then there are bacteria on your contacts that you're placing directly on your eyes. In addition, if you consider the fact that you blink nearly 29,000 times a day, you are putting a lot of stress on your eye with each one of those blinks if you wear contacts.
Maybe It's Time for LASIK Surgery
If you have left your contacts in overnight before and you didn't suffer an infection or vision loss, then you're lucky. But you might not be next time. If it is hard for you to remember to take your contacts out before bed or you have developed a health condition that is keeping you from being able to properly remove your lenses, you may want to consider speaking to an eye care specialist about LASIK eye surgery. You will have to meet certain requirements. However, with this surgery, you won't have to worry about glasses, contacts or anything similar ever again.