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Message
Posted by dude on August 04, 2000 at 19:57:38:

In Reply to: HELP!?!?!?! posted by kim on August 03, 2000 at 11:51:28:

: is is possible to go blind if you have two week disposable contacts that are suppossed to be removed every evening and reapplied in the morning if you leave them in for two weeks straight with no break? My doctor said I could lose my sight entirely, I'm just too lazy to take them out. Is it true!?!?!?!?

Everyday that we wear a contact lens we have a risk of eye infections. This is very low if we care for lenses properly and remove them at night. Even so, we all have a small risk. This is an acceptable and low risk. When you sleep with lenses, the eye doesn't get sufficient oxygen for proper function. The front of the eyeball where the contact lens sits is a clear tissue called the cornea. It has no blood supply to provide nutrition and carry away waste like the rest of the body tissues. The cornea basically suffocates to some degree every night that you sleep with the lenses. It also has microscopic breaks or sores in the skin of the cornea. In addition, the lenses are dirty from day one with protein and mucous from your eyes and has bacteria and other germs trapped on it. This combination of germs, food, warm environment and broken cornea skin is a set up for severe infection. We're not talking pink eye which is quite benign and goes away by itself. The infections related to sleeping with lenses are more severe and can cause scarring of the eyeball. It lucky, you only have microscopic scars visible to the doctor using his microscope. At worse, your eye will be all white like in the movies or maybe your eye maybe completely lost. The germs that cause these severe infections already live on us and on the eyeball. The bad part is that the more you sleep with the lenses, the more your eyes become numb as the nerves slowly die. People who sleep with lenses often don't feel the pain or irritation of the beginnings of an infection like others and so they wait longer to see the doctor. There are documented cases of people losing their eyes within 24 hours of a bad infection. The lens can also act like a bandaid so that you can't feel the sores. Think of what your skin looks like after a day or two under a bandaid. Pretty messed up. The life cycle of the skin of the eyeball is about 2 months, so it can take up to at least 2 months for the cornea to get back to normal after damage. Taking your lens off for a day helps but doesn't allow for full healing if you put the lens on soon after or if you continue to sleep with them. Also make sure that you soak your lenses in a disinfecting solution and not in saline or tap water. Saline is just salt water like tears, but has no germ killers/disinfectant. Using tap water, bottled water, distilled water has been connected to infection by an amoeba called acanthamoeba, which causes an incurable eye infection.

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