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Contact Lens Disorders
Contact Lens Disorder Introduction
Contact lens disorders are becoming more common every day. Studies show that at least six percent of wearers experience some kind of affliction that can be directly attributed to the wearing of them. Yet another problem with contact lenses is that they can aggravate existing eye disorders.
Causes of Contact Lens Disorders
The cause of any contact lens disorder can be attributed to the type of material that the contact lens is made of, the lens care system used and the person’s overall tolerance to having foreign objects in their eyes.
Factors such as allergies, blepharitis, eyelid problems and dry eyes can also cause contact lens problems.
Contact Lens Related Disorders
Spoilage: When soft contact lenses degrade they can cause infections, allergy and irritations of the eye. Contact lenses spoil due to chemicals in your tears, chemicals in your eye care solution, and environmental contaminates. Extremes of heat or cold can also degrade lenses. Once the lenses spoil they no longer fit well. Other problems that result from contact lens spoilage include poor oxygen absorption and protein deposits. Inflammation of the eye and an allergy to all contact lenses can occur if you insist on wearing ruined contact lenses.
Deposits: Deposits on contact lenses are formed by the protein in your tears. These deposits can rub against the surface of your eye and cause irritation. Contaminates from dust, oil and smoke can also form deposits. One way to reduce this risk is to wear disposable contact lenses.
Warpage: Warpage is a term that describes lenses become warped by excessive handling. It can also be caused by too much exposure to heat. Wearing warped lenses can also distort the cornea and cause astigmatism. Warpage is most common with permeable gas contact lenses.
Damage: Damage to lenses includes chips, cracks and tears in the lens. These are usually manufacturer defects or caused by handling of the wearer. The most common symptoms are the sensation that there is something in the eye, watering eyes and blurred vision. Some people may have no symptoms at all. An eye exam may reveal conjunctival infection, superficial keratitis and corneal defects. Sometimes bacteria breeds in the cracks on the lens. Treatment includes discarding the old lens and medication if the cornea has been damaged.
Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by both seasonal and perennial allergens. Symptoms include itching, watery eyes, swollen lids and a feeling of pressure.
Treatment of allergic conjunctivitis includes distancing yourself from the allergen and taking antihistamines. Artificial tears and vasoconstrictors might also be prescribed. If you insist on wearing lenses then you might create an intolerance in your eyes for them.
Vernal keratoconjunctivitis is a repeating condition that occurs in people five to twenty years of age. Symptoms include itching, redness, light sensitivity and blurred vision. Some sufferers have thickening of the eyelids and lumps on the lids. The cornea can also develop an ulcer. The contacts that caused the problem should be thrown away and the wearer will be advised not to wear contact lenses again until he or she is an adult.
Treatment of vernal keratoconjunctivitis includes the prescribing of mast cell stabilizers and antihistamine creams. In severe cases, topical steroids may be required. However steroids have negative impact on the vision if used for a long term and are avoided if possible. The condition usually disappears once the youth becomes an adult.
Atopic conjunctivitis is one of the side effects of atopic dermatitis. It develops during childhood, adolescence or in the early twenties. It is severest between the ages of thirty and fifty years old. Symptoms include watery eyes, swelling of the lids, itching and light sensitivity. The cornea can become opaque if it is not treated.
Oral steroids are often prescribed for atopic conjunctivitis as it is severe and the prognosis is uncertain. People with this are advised to never wear contacts.
Blepharitis is a chronic, long lasting inflammation of the eyelids that is caused by plugged oil glands and infected eyelashes. Symptoms include burning and itching.
Treatment includes improving hygiene, and the use of topical or oral antibiotics. Blepharitis patients can usually resume wearing cosmetic contacts but stand a better chance of getting their blepharitis under control if they don’t wear them at all.
Hormonal changes, oral medications and systemic diseases cause dry eyes. This can affect the surface of the eye and the ability of the person to wear lenses. Symptoms include watering and the sensation there is something in the eye. People with dry eyes should not wear contacts and often their eyes will not accept the lenses onto the iris anyway.