Many people have vision problems. Of these, approximately 45 million wear contact lenses. But, are contacts safe for general eye health? If you wear contacts, now or in the future, here’s some good news for you!
Contact lenses are very safe - as long as you follow your doctor’s recommendations.
However, contacts may damage your eyes if you:
Keep contacts in your eyes too long
Do not clean your contact lenses as directed
Do not replace your contacts as often as prescribed
Remember, a contact lens is a medical device and is regulated by the FDA. This means that in order to wear contacts, you need a prescription issued by a licensed eye professional. It also means that general eye health depends on compliance.
Eye Health and Contact Lenses Study
Researchers at the American Society for Microbiology have tested whether there were changes in the eye microbiota due to contact lenses. The eye has its own population of bacteria which lives in symbiosis with the host to help protect the eye from infection. The thought was that adding a foreign object, such as a contact lens would create an imbalance of bacteria in the eye and cause health issues resulting in redness and inflammation.
While the results showed that contact lens wearers had higher levels of certain bacteria and lower levels of others as compared to non-lens wearers, both showed a higher proportion of hand-like bacteria rather than face-like bacteria in the eye. This means invasive bacteria from the hands were present in both groups and contact lenses could not be identified as a significant factor in increasing bacteria levels.