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Glasses 4 U - Contact Lens Health

Contact lenses are an extremely popular method of vision correction used to help those with short or long sightedness. It is estimated that 125 million people worldwide use contact lenses, with their popularity coming from their convenience and lack of visibility. However, contact lens usage does come with occasional complications for many users. Roughly 5% of contact lens users experience problems with their contact lenses, which can come in a variety of forms; with the majority relating to problems with the conjunctiva. Whilst the majority of contact lens wearers will experience no problems during the use of their lenses, it is worth being aware of the potential problems, how to avoid them and how to treat them.

Problems with the conjunctiva are one of the most common problems for contact lens wearers. The conjunctiva is a thin film that covers the white of the eye and helps to protect it. One typical problem is an allergic reaction of this membrane to the contact lens solution. This can cause itchiness, swelling and discomfort. Simply changing the solution can eliminate this problem, but advice from your doctor or optician is necessary for such an action. Conjunctivitis is another relatively common problem for contact lens wearers, and can be related to allergic reactions mentioned previously. Approximately 3% of contact wearers will develop some kind of conjunctivitis, most commonly giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC). This occurs when either a chemical in the contact lens solution, or the lens itself or a foreign body attached to the lens irritates the conjunctiva, which then swells and causes irritation, increased mucus production and occasionally an aversion to light.

Overuse of contact lenses is also a common cause of GPC. To prevent GPC occurring, it is necessary to constantly replace damaged or dirty contact lenses, and to disinfect them nightly. Avoiding debris such as dandruff from coming into contact with the lens or the eye can also help prevent GPC, as can treatment for hay fever should the user be allergic to pollen. Treatment for GPC involves removing the source of irritation, such as a faulty lens or the chemical causing the allergic reaction within the contact lens solution. Anti inflammatory drugs such as Acular or Allergan can reduce the swelling of the conjunctiva, and histamine blockers such as Levocabastine can also be used to reduce irritation.

As with all issues of a pharmaceutical nature, it is vital that all issues relating to contact lens irritation are referred to your optician and doctor. All suggestions within this article are for demonstrative purposes only.