Attention, Attention! Now for you bad boy and girl contact lens patients. You know who you are. Contact lenses should be considered just as important as adding a drug into your body. They can blind you if not fit correctly, or are abused and not worn correctly.
Disposable contacts have helped bring down the number of contact lens complications but people still abuse them and their wearing schedules. Daily wear means removing them DAILY, Extended wear means Extended wear (sleeping in them) but with careful follow up on a regular basis. Disposable means DISPOSABLE, you throw them away on their disposal date (monthly/2 week/daily)!
Do not think you are being smart or frugal by stretching them out. Dates are there for a reason. If you cannot grasp this concept you may want to stick with glasses. There will be consequences. It is just a matter of time. Contacts are a luxury and must be respected and cared for correctly.
For example, a bad boy sleeps in his extended wear contacts for two months straight instead of the one-month disposable date as directed. He does not clean them weekly like he should, and takes them out only if they bother him. Sound familiar?
He wakes up one morning with a red, painful eye and his vision is blurry out of that eye. So now he takes his contact out. Crap, it still hurts and is feeling worse. Nothing is helping after half a day.
Let’s go see Dr. Wilson.
“Hey Doc, yeah, I know. I wore them too long (again), my bad. Just give me some drops to fix it. I’ll promise to be good.”
As his doctor, I am starting to sweat in my chair because he’s developed an infectious bacterial Keratitis Pseudomonas Ulcer that may just eat through his cornea in 24-48 hours if not stopped. No kidding, it is the Darth Vader of eye bacteria!!!
Time to start fortified antibiotics at the hospital (yes, you are going there) one drop every 15-30 minutes, 24/7 until we stop the ulcer(maybe). That is why you are in the hospital. You cannot do this at home! If caught in time, we can stop it. If not, sorry you may lose the eye. If we stop the ulcer, the game is still not over. Now you have a huge central corneal scar. Your vision is now 20/400, best corrected.
Corneal transplant time! From a cadaver! Yours comes off. The cadaver cornea is sutured on (think Frankenstein but with better technology ????). One year to heal, taking graph anti-rejection drugs for a long time. By the way, your vision is still not clear.
Now to correct your vision. Normally you will have a high prescription which will need a hard, gas permeable contact (rarely soft) to improve your vision. Sometimes glasses work, but you never know what the prescription will be. It could be anything, there is no way to control that outcome. You just hope it does not reject.
At least you did not lose the eye, right?!! I stopped adding up all the costs and time a while back. I’ll let you do the math but it is a lot.
So please stick to the rules and you will be fine. Seeing something like the above (I’ve seen 3 in my career) is very scary and a life-changing event. It’s just a bad thing and can be easily prevented.
There are many more eye topics to talk about but let’s agree that you should visit your eye doctor every year. Be diligent about your eye health. Ask lots of questions. Protect your eyes and your family’s eyes.
I love educating patients about their eyes. Being blessed to work with good surgeons and treating eye disease over the years just motivates me more to stop it from happening in the first place. It is more than “which is better? One or two? It’s good you have two eyes!!” Relying on only one eye makes life much harder. Again, cherish those beautiful eyes. Have a good day and I hope I have enlightened you about your ocular health.
Written by Dr. James Wilson