OCT 08, 2017 9:06 AM PDT

How Contacts Can Destroy Your Eyesight

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

In 2014, a woman in Taiwan lost her eyesight completely due to a parasitic infection caused by leaving in her contacts for six months. The frightening news made contact lens wearers everywhere reconsider their complacency when it comes to removing the contacts on a daily basis.

While leaving the contacts in for months is an extreme case, it's not uncommon for the contacts to be left in the eye for longer than intended. Some may have forgotten and accidentally went to sleep with the contacts. Some may be purposefully trying to extend the life of their contacts in order to reduce cost. Whatever the reason, doctors agree that leaving contacts in for too long poses threats to eyesight.

One doctor likens a contact lens to a kitchen sponge - both are porous and can trap bacteria. One type of bacteria that thrives between the lens and the eyeball surface is the Acanthamoeba parasite. When this parasite gets into a person's eye, it damages the cornea, which causes pain, redness, blurred vision, light sensitivity, and even blindness.

Doctors recommend removing and cleaning your contacts daily for two reasons. This allows your eyeballs to breathe in essential oxygen, while having the mucus and protein buildup washed away. Watch the video to learn more!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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