• Closeup Of Female Face With Applying Contact Lens

Can You Get Eye Infection From Contacts?

Con­tacts are high­ly con­ve­nient but do require some upkeep. As an easy alter­na­tive to eye­glass­es, they can’t be worn 24/7. How­ev­er, keep­ing them clean will help to pre­vent eye infec­tion from con­tacts. If you’re new to using con­tacts or expe­ri­ence eye irri­ta­tion after remov­ing con­tacts, you’re not alone. Accord­ing to the Cen­ter for Dis­ease Con­trol, an esti­mat­ed 45 mil­lion peo­ple around the world wear con­tact lens­es. Inter­est­ing­ly, two-thirds of con­tact lens wear­ers are female, with the aver­age age of all wear­ers being 31. 

Habits You Should Avoid While Wearing Contacts

Devel­op­ing good habits will pre­vent eye infec­tion from con­tacts. Poor choic­es can result in seri­ous infec­tions that can cause scar­ring and vision loss. The CDC reports that approx­i­mate­ly 99% of indi­vid­u­als who wear con­tacts have made at least one poor choice that could put them at risk for eye pain from con­tacts or inflam­ma­tion. Between 80% and 90% of eye infec­tion from con­tacts are bac­te­r­i­al but they can be avoid­ed. By devel­op­ing the fol­low­ing habits, you’ll have a low­er chance of con­tract­ing an eye infec­tion from con­tacts: 

  • Signs - Being aware of the signs of infec­tion can help alert you when you have eyes irri­tat­ed from con­tacts. Those signs include light sen­si­tiv­i­ty, blurred vision, red or painful eyes, water­ing or dis­charge, swelling, itch­ing, burn­ing, and feel­ing like some­thing is in your eye. If you expe­ri­ence any of these signs or symp­toms, call your doc­tor imme­di­ate­ly. 
  • Water — Some­times, water can con­tain pathogens or pol­lu­tants that can irri­tate the eye. When you swim with con­tacts in water that may retain bac­te­ria, microbes, or free-swim­ming amoe­ba, you’re plac­ing your­self at risk for impaired vision and infec­tion. 
  • Sleep — While it’s incred­i­bly impor­tant to fol­low the rec­om­mend­ed replace­ment sched­ule for con­tact lens­es, it’s just as impor­tant to remem­ber to not sleep in them. Sleep­ing in your con­tacts restricts much-need­ed oxy­gen that can lead to abra­sions and stress. Soft con­tact lens­es cre­ate the ide­al envi­ron­ment for bac­te­ria to grow like a petri dish. Although dai­ly dis­pos­able con­tacts help to reduce inflam­ma­tion and infec­tion, it’s impor­tant to remem­ber to take them out before you go to sleep. 
  • Store — Always store your con­tacts in a hydro­gen per­ox­ide-based solu­tion to avoid harm­ful bac­te­ria. The typ­i­cal rec­om­men­da­tion is to store con­tacts for 4 to 6 hours dai­ly using the prop­er sup­ply case. 
  • Dis­in­fect — Reusing stor­age and clean­ing solu­tions is very com­mon but can increase your chance of eye irri­ta­tion after remov­ing con­tacts. Avoid the temp­ta­tion to sim­ply “top off” your clean­ing solu­tion. It’s best to throw out the old solu­tion com­plete­ly and start fresh dai­ly. As part of this rou­tine, replac­ing your eye con­tact case at least every 2 months will decrease the chance of you get­ting an eye infec­tion from con­tacts.Habits You Should Avoid While Wearing Contacts

Risks of Eye Infection From Contacts

Can I wear con­tacts with pink eye? The short answer to this is no. It’s rec­om­mend­ed to avoid wear­ing con­tacts with pink eye. How­ev­er, these ques­tions and many more will be answered in this sec­tion. There are many risks asso­ci­at­ed with using poor­ly ster­il­ized con­tacts besides pink eye. If you choose to wear con­tacts, you are at high­er risk for a cornea infec­tion, also labeled as ker­ati­tis or corneal ulcers. A com­mon prob­lem, ker­ati­tis leads to 1 mil­lion doc­tor and hos­pi­tal vis­its annu­al­ly, accord­ing to the Cen­ter for Dis­ease Con­trol. Devel­op­ing good habits of tak­ing care of your con­tacts will help you avoid these and many oth­er risks and infec­tions asso­ci­at­ed with poor con­tact lens hygiene. Here is a list of a few oth­er risks that you should be aware of: 

  • Bac­te­ria — The bac­te­ria on our nose, mouth, and skin are usu­al­ly harm­less. How­ev­er, com­bin­ing all of them can be quite dan­ger­ous. Staphy­lo­coc­cus aureus, also referred to as Staph, is a germ that is present in about 30% of the population’s noses. Although it usu­al­ly does not cause harm, it can turn into a staph infec­tion or worse under the right con­di­tions. It is a dif­fi­cult infec­tion to treat but main­tain­ing ster­ile con­tacts will help you avoid ill­ness. 

Anoth­er fast-mov­ing and dan­ger­ous bac­te­ria is Pseudomonas aerug­i­nosa, which is known to leave a hole in your eye, caus­ing per­ma­nent vision loss. Dis­in­fect­ing your cas­es and lens­es reg­u­lar­ly will pre­vent this from tak­ing place. 

  • Virus — It is pos­si­ble to get pink eye from con­tacts. Pink­eye is caused by the same virus as the com­mon cold or flu. Also referred to as con­junc­tivi­tis, wear­ing con­tacts with pink­eye can wors­en symp­toms and aggra­vate the con­di­tion. This is the time to wear eye­glass­es tem­porar­i­ly until you are com­plete­ly healed. 

How long after pink eye can I wear con­tacts? It depends. Most pink eye infec­tions are caused by a virus but they can come from bac­te­ria as well. Both are equal­ly high­ly con­ta­gious and can be caused by improp­er­ly cleaned con­tacts and direct or indi­rect con­tact with liq­uid drained from the eye of some­one infect­ed. The treat­ment you receive for your pink­eye infec­tion will deter­mine when you can use con­tacts again. Most doc­tors pro­vide the fol­low­ing rec­om­men­da­tions: 

  • When your full course of antibi­otics has been tak­en in its entire­ty
  • The red­ness or pink­ness in your eyes is com­plete­ly gone or
  • Your pink eye symp­toms have been absent for a full 24 hours. 

This heal­ing and recov­ery process will like­ly take time but you can ease symp­toms with a cold com­press and arti­fi­cial tears. Always dis­card the cos­met­ics as well as con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed con­tacts and lens cas­es you were using when you became infect­ed. Also, check the expi­ra­tion date for the cur­rent solu­tion you are using to avoid any chance of rein­fec­tion. 

  • Par­a­site — A very small, one-celled amoe­ba called acan­thamoe­ba thrives in water, par­tic­u­lar­ly swim­ming pools, hot tubs, and even tap water. You can become eas­i­ly sus­cep­ti­ble to an eye infec­tion when you wear con­tacts in water. If you do wear them, it’s best to keep your eyes closed while under­wa­ter. Par­a­sites can cause ker­ati­tis and it is chal­leng­ing to treat. Depend­ing on the sever­i­ty of the infec­tion, a full cornea trans­plant may be nec­es­sary. 
  • Fun­gal - Although not com­mon, a fun­gal infec­tion can be caused by poor­ly ster­il­ized con­tacts, accord­ing to the Amer­i­can Opto­met­ric Asso­ci­a­tion. There is a very small risk of a fun­gal infec­tion caus­ing blind­ness and is usu­al­ly treat­ed with fun­gal eye drops. Infection of an eyelid on an eye with contact lens

Schedule Your Free Consultation Today

Are you ready to take that next step and get rid of con­tacts for good? If you’re deal­ing with ongo­ing issues from eye infec­tion from con­tacts, symp­toms can be elim­i­nat­ed by decreas­ing your reliance on them. We spe­cial­ize in LASIK and laser vision treat­ment through­out New York, Con­necti­cut, New Jer­sey, and Atlanta, Geor­gia. Our award-win­ning and high­ly qual­i­fied LASIK sur­geons offer a vari­ety of quick pro­ce­dures that will have you return­ing back to your nor­mal rou­tine by the next day. With over 10 loca­tions to serve you, our cor­rec­tive pro­ce­dures decrease depen­den­cy on glass­es or con­tacts. 

You are our #1 pri­or­i­ty! We make LASIK easy, con­ve­nient, and afford­able with sev­er­al pay­ment and finance options avail­able. You can expect the lat­est in tech­no­log­i­cal advance­ments like the Ocu­lus Pen­ta­cam Cam­era, Iris Reg­is­tra­tion, and Intralase FS150 Upgrade. Our doc­tors bring a wealth of knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence with over 30 years of expe­ri­ence. When you arrive, you will be in good hands. 

Book your free con­sul­ta­tion with us today!

May 11th, 2020|Comments Off on Can You Get Eye Infection From Contacts?

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