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Being Careless While Cleaning Contact Lenses May Cause Blindness

Update Date: Nov 25, 2012 07:22 AM EST

A growing number of people are opting for contact lenses rather than regular spectacles, and many of these are children in their teens. Although contact lenses are safe, they need to be taken care of properly, or they may lead to serious consequences like infections and ulcerations, according to an eye disease expert.

"While contacts are generally very safe, wearers should know that poor contact care can lead to serious health issues," Dr. Sean Edelstein, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at Saint Louis University Medical Center, said in a university news release.

"Unfortunately, I usually see patients after they've developed contact-lens-related infections or inflammation."

"Eye redness, pain, sensitivity to light and blurry vision are symptoms that suggest something is wrong," said Edelstein, who specializes in cornea and external diseases of the eye, according to Health Day.

"In this scenario, you should immediately remove your contact lens and see an eye-care professional."

There have been several reports of adults and teenagers using shortcuts when caring for their contact lenses. Some of the malpractices include: usage of expired lens solutions, reuse of leftover contact solution, exposure of lenses to non-sterile water, etc. Also, storage of lenses in water, or alcohol overnight, wearing them and sleeping, not cleaning them, etc are other practices which are complete no-no and may cause severe infection.

The consequences of being careless while storing and cleaning contact lenses can be really horrifying. While usually, corneal infections are caused by bacteria, particularly Pseudomonas and Staphylococcus, in rare cases, it is possible that contact lenses may get infected by fungi or parasite. This makes the treatment even more difficult, Edelstein noted.  

In some extreme cases, infections can spread deep inside the eyes and cause inflammation inside the eyeball. Ulcers in the cornea can cause scarring and even blindness.

According to the Health Day report, certain guidelines offered by Edelstein, while taking care of contact lenses are as follows:

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