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There are approximately 36 million people in the United States who wear contact lenses. When contact lenses are fitted to the eye, much more is taken into account than just the numbers from the glasses prescription. The curvature of the cornea (the clear tissue at the front of the eye that the contact lens sits on) is one important measurement that taken. The diameter of the contact lens with respect to the diameter of the cornea is looked at as well. Additionally, health of the surface of the eye and the surrounding lids is taken into account.

Because you are actually putting a contact lens on the surface of the eye, there are risks for infections (ulcers) and other complications that are not present with glasses. Two main factors that contribute to this increased risk of infection are decreased oxygenation to the cornea and bacteria and other organisms that can attach to the soft surface of the contact lens when proper handwashing techniques are not used prior to handling your lenses or when lenses are stored in contaminated solutions.

Other known complications of contact lens use are conjunctivitis, corneal abrasions, eye irritation, dry eye, and keratitis. It is best to follow the doctor’s recommendations with your contact lenses to ensure proper care and health of both your lenses and eyes. Below are tips to help with your contact lens care:

  • Remember to discard and replace as directed.
  • Always wash your hands prior to handling your contact lenses.
  • Clean your lenses properly and store in a clean, case. Don’t forget to replace your case frequently.
  • Never reuse contact solution.

Even if you do not have symptoms of eye problems from your contacts, it is still important to go see your eye doctor for routine annual eye exams. Your eye doctor can detect potential eye problems before you notice them and help you continue wearing contact lenses safely and comfortably for years to come.

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