One of the most popular alternatives for improving one’s vision (aside from wearing glasses and squinting) are round pieces of plastic called eye contact lenses. These plastic lenses fit on the cornea of the eyes. Unbeknowthest to many, these plastics can cause serious and possibly irreversible damage to the eyes and health. Below are seven risks and possible complications that can occur when the contact lenses are used.
1. Greater Risk of Eye Infections (Especially Keratitis)
Keratitis, the most common infection that can result from wearing contact lenses, is caused by dust, bacteria, viruses, and in rare cases, eye parasites. (Source) If there are scratches on your contact lenses, they can scrape the outer surface of your cornea, making it easier for bacteria to get in and cause an infection. These scratches on your cornea are also known as corneal abrasion.
Keratitis affects the cornea and causes pain, redness, blurred vision, discharge, and/or watery or irritated eyes. (Source) Keratitis can happen for a number of reasons: when you don’t take your contact lenses out at night, wearing your contacts while swimming, exposing your contacts to any type of water, not cleaning your contacts properly, wearing old contact lenses, or wearing contacts that aren’t properly fitted to you (a major concern for non-prescription cosmetic lenses – which is why they’re not considered safe to use).
Research shows that keratitis is associated with all forms of contact lenses, including daily disposable contact lenses, silicone hydrogel lenses, and soft contact lenses. However, one study showed the rate of keratitis was significantly higher in those who wear extended hydrogel contact lenses (Source)
Contact lenses also leave you more susceptible to giant papillary conjunctivitis (pink eye), which is also sometimes called contact lens-induced papillary conjunctivitis (CLPC) (Source).
Fingernails are home to many different types of bacteria, including yeast. If yeast comes in contact with your eye, it can cause a fungal infection, which comes with swelling, pain, and redness (Source).
2. Vision Loss and Blindness
When eye infections or corneal ulcers from contact lenses are left untreated, they can cause vision impairment and permanent blindness. This is especially true for bacterial keratitis, which can damage the structure and shape of the cornea. (Source)
3. Corneal Scarring
If you’re allergic to the material used to make the contact lenses (plastic or silicone), or keep contact lenses in for too long, it can cause corneal inflammation and injury, which can lead to scarring and permanent damage to your vision (this is also extraordinarily painful, so corneal scarring is something you want to prevent at all costs) (Source). Some contact lenses have BPA and other xeno-estrogens that can spur endocrine disruption and cancer growth.
4. Reduced Corneal Reflex (Which Protects the Eye from Outside Dangers)
Blinking is probably not something most people pay heed to during the day. This involuntary movement (controlled by the CNS) is crucial to keeping one’s eyes and vision healthy. Blinking is a protective mechanism that helps keep outside irritants from damaging your eyes, such as chemicals in the environment, dust, bacteria, insects, and even physical contact. In this perspective, research has shown that regularly wearing contact lenses can interfere with blinking reflexes by reducing corneal sensitivity. (Source).
Blinking also helps keep the eyes from drying out by producing tears. When the corneal reflexes are reduced and one is not blinking as frequently, dry eye syndrome – a condition that’s characterized by itching, redness, and pus – can surface.
5. Dry Eye Syndrome
Itchy, irritated, dry, red eyes are the most common complaints when wearing contact lenses, and these symptoms usually indicate dry eye syndrome . (Source) You can get dry eye syndrome even if you don’t wear contact lenses, but it commonly happens when you first adjust to wearing contacts, when your contacts dry out as you’re wearing them, or wear contacts that don’t fit you properly (again, another caution with purchasing non-prescription cosmetic contacts).
As mentioned above, contact lenses can reduce the amount of tears your eyes produce, which act as a “moisturizer.” Soft contact lenses can actually absorb these tears, drying the eyes out even further (Source).
Studies done on dry eye syndrome and contact lenses show that dry eye syndrome affects both short- and long-term soft contact lens wearers (at least 2+ years) (Source). Although it’s less common, dry eyes can also cause corneal scarring.
6. Ptosis (Eyelid Drooping)
Ptosis is the technical term for droopy upper eyelids, and research shows there’s a direct link between wearing both soft and hard contact lenses and ptosis (Source). However, studies show that people who wear hard contact lenses are at a 20 times greater risk of developing ptosis than those who wear soft lenses (Source).
While it’s not completely understood exactly how contact lenses can cause the eyelids to droop, prolonged wearing of hard contact lenses is said to be the primary cause of ptosis (Source). Today, however, soft lenses are more commonly prescribed than hard contact lenses.
7. Corneal Ulcers & Possibly Eye Cancer
Eye infections caused by contact lenses can lead to corneal ulcers, which are painful, open sores on the outer layer of the cornea.
Keeping contact lenses in for too long is the most common cause of corneal ulcers, and research suggests that those who wear extended wear contact lenses (which can be worn for several consecutive days) are (Source).
Furthermore, if there are pollution particulates that get caught on the cornea, because the blinking mechanism does not work well, the eye doesn’t get rid of these chemicals and with too much toxic friction, corneal ulcers can get transformed into an eye cancer. Rare, but possible.
Regularly wearing contact lenses interferes with the blinking reflexes. By reducing corneal sensitivity and the eyes cleansing mechanisms, eye health is compromised.
Moreover, contrarily to what most mainstream eye doctors will claim, mild to medium near or far sightedness can be cured with holistic lifestyle, based on proper nutrition, eye exercises, palming, kneck massage (where the optical nerve and muscles are located), herbs and a few other elements that we teach in our workshops. (Among others, see Dr Bates for his method).
To these problems is added screen technology stress. Because of looking too much at artificial screens, the eyes need to blink naturally a lot to avoid eye dryness and other problems. The best hack for this would be to wear orange or red glasses (to avoid blue waves, especially in the evening), blinks lots and stop looking at the computer screen every 20 minutes or so and gently massage the eye area.
While wearing contact lens for a very short duration (like during a beauty contest) could be acceptable if the eye lens were of quality and prescribed correctly by an eye doctor, wearing them most times is asking for health trouble and all the more so that deleterious chemicals from the plastic contact lenses can leach into the cornea liquids, especially on a hot sunny. And if these plastic lenses are old or of bad quality, risks are compounded. To make matters worse, every time there is an “in and out” of these lenses, there’s the risk of getting dust, bacteria or some other deleterious particle in the eye. As a popular eye blindness organization says, more than 80 percent of contact lens wearers are at serious risks of contracting some kind of eye complication. (Source) Even the very official FDA has put on its webiste a list of a few of those risks. (Source). Eye contact lenses may be good for corporate cash-flow and vanity, but not for the person’s over-all health and budget.
When we know that not wearing glasses of any sorts, including contact lens (unless really needed like for driving a car under bad conditions) actually helps to exercise the eyes so that they can better put in place self-repair and lubrification mechanisms, one wonders why so many people wear glasses and contact lenses and all the more so that the Sun needs to penetrate through the cornea to correctly harmonize the body’s circadian rhythmes and promote the biosynthesis of key hormones.
Pr. Joubert (HM Institute Director)
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Disclaimer: Nothing in this educational blog should be construed as medical advise.