Complications of Contact Lens Wear: Know the Possible Risks

    Complications of Contact Lens Wear: Know the Possible Risks

    If you currently wear glasses and plan to switch to contact lenses, it’s important to know the possible risks and complications of contact lens wear. Knowing the potential risks can help you make an informed decision when it comes to your vision. So before deciding on contact lenses, be sure to read through this article!

    Complications of Contact Lens Wear

    While contact lenses these days are safe and easy to use, they still carry some risk. This is especially true if they are mishandled, or used improperly. Here are some possible complications of contact lens wear that people can experience:

    Dry eyes

    Dry eyes are a common condition that some people have. This usually happens when the eyes are not hydrated enough, which causes inflammation and irritation.

    For people who are prone to dry eyes, wearing contact lenses can make their condition worse, and is one of the most common complications of contact lens wear.

    This happens because some types of contact lens prevent moisture and oxygen from getting to the eyes. This usually happens if a person wears their contacts for long periods of time.

    So be sure to take out your contacts at the end of the day, and make sure to keep your contact lenses as well as your eyes hydrated.

    Contact Lens-induced Acute Red Eye (CLARE)

    Contact lens-induced acute red eye or CLARE is a condition most commonly associated with wearing contact lenses overnight. This condition is similar to having sore eyes, and the symptoms are the same.

    It is believed that wearing contact lenses overnight can cause inflammation, or it is caused by bacteria that is in the eye.

    If you develop this condition, it would be best to take out your contact lens, and go to the doctor as soon as possible. They will help with the treatment of your condition.

    Cause of Eye Discharge and Possible Underlying Conditions

    Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC)

    In contrast with other complications of contact lens wear, GPC affects a person’s inner eyelids instead. This condition causes the eyelids to become irritated or inflamed, causing symptoms such as itching and pain.

    Giant papillary conjunctivitis was previously thought of as an allergic reaction. However, it has been discovered that this is not actually the case.

    This is primarily caused by the edge of the contact lens rubbing against the eye when a person is blinking. As a person blinks constantly throughout the day, this rubbing can eventually cause inflammation that results in GPC.

    Treatment involves not wearing the contact lenses for at least 2 weeks, switching brands or lens solution, and proper hygiene.

    Corneal abrasion

    Another possible complications of contact lens wear is corneal abrasion. This happens when a person wears an ill-fitting contact lens, and the lens damages the cornea, or there’s a foreign object stuck in between the lens and the eye.

    This can potentially lead to infection, so treatment is very important. This usually includes antibiotics to prevent infection, as well as wearing an eye patch over the damaged eye.

    Corneal ulcer

    This is the most serious of the complications of contact lens wear. If a person has a corneal ulcer, this means that their cornea has been infected or damaged, leading to an infection.

    Corneal ulcers usually require urgent medical attention, and they can even lead to scarring of the cornea and deeper intraocular infection (endophthalmitis). It’s also possible that a corneal transplant might even be required.

    The worst-case scenario for a corneal ulcer is that the eye needs to be removed.

    Key Takeaways

    Knowing the possible complications of contact lens wear helps people make better decisions about their vision. It also helps people be more careful and mindful of not just how they care for their eyes, but also how careful they are with using contact lenses.

    By practicing proper contact lens hygiene, and making sure to choose the right kind of lens, you can lower your risk of these complications. And remember, if you feel any itchiness or inflammation, be sure to take out your contact lens, and visit your doctor as soon as possible.

    Learn more about Eye Care here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


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    Other Complications | Contact Lenses | CDC,, Accessed March 4, 2021

    Contact Lens-related Complications: A Review,, Accessed March 4, 2021

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    Contact Lens Problems. Read about CL problems. Patient | Patient,, Accessed March 4, 2021

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    Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated May 19, 2021
    Medically reviewed by Victor Paulino, MD, DPBO