Many of us contact wearers, myself included, choose to abuse the length of time that we wear our lenses. The most common contact type in soft lenses are the 2-week disposables, yet many of us, once again, myself included, choose to make our contact lenses last longer by wearing them WAY longer than we should.
I was a huge culprit of doing this, wearing my 2-week disposable contact lenses for 2 months at a time or more, and often wearing them to sleep rather than only wearing them the recommended 6-8 hours at a time. I thought nothing of simply scraping off the protein deposits that build on the contact lens over time, and would even take a completely dried out contact lens that I found on the counter after losing it months before, wet it down, and pop it in my eye.
I did this for years, and thought nothing of the absolute abuse I was putting my eyes through. That is, until I got an ulcer in my right eye that damaged my eye for good. I got the ulcer in my eye from the lack of oxygen my eyes were getting from my poor contact usage, got an infection from the protein deposits on my lenses that irritated my eye, and had to miss about a month of school monitoring my deeply red, oozy, painful eye until the ulcer faded on it’s own.
I was lucky in that the ulcer I got was mild, but it was absolutely caused by my abuse of contact lenses. When you wear contact lenses too long, the contacts lose the ability to be “breathable”, causing your blood vessels to become engorged trying to breathe. Your eyes become dry, irritated, and prone to infection from your caked-on lenses that you keep popping in your eye, trying to save a buck and prolong the life of your contacts.
If I would have known that in just a few years I would have permanent blood vessel damage in my right eye (exacerbated further by blood pressure and stress), by simply and stupidly abusing contact lenses, I would have never gotten contacts in the first place. As it stands, no eye doctor will prescribe me contact lenses until my blood vessels shrink down to a more normal size, and every year I go to the eye doctor hoping for contacts, only to be told that my eyes still express too much damage due to my inattentive contact lens care.
My eyes look as if I have been abusing them with contact lenses for 2 years, which would not be such a shock if I have been actually wearing contacts this whole time. I haven’t worn contacts since 2003, and my eyes have only gotten mildly better due to my taking herbal meds for blood pressure and daily moisturizing drops for my eyes. Until my eye doctor is convinced that my eyes are healthy enough for contact lenses, I won’t be getting any. I’ve been trying for over 4 years to get contacts, but no go. While you can’t see all the damage with the naked eye, the eye doctor looks under the eye lids and behind the eye with his little tools, and determines your damage there. I have permanent bloodshot eyes attributed partially to my eyes not being able to breathe from contacts, but mainly due to blood pressure and stress, which I manage to make less noticeable every day by taking simple precautions.
Is it worth it to save a few dollars on contacts, only to mess up your eyes? I say no. While my case may not be common in that I actually cannot wear contacts, it doesn’t mean I’m the only one who unknowingly abused them. You very well are on the same track I went down if you are wearing your contact lenses too long, too often, and not tossing them when you should. If you don’t correct the behavior now, someday down the road your eye doctor may tell you you aren’t allowed to wear contacts anymore because you’ve caused too much damage to your eyes. It’s not worth it.
Don’t abuse your contact lenses.