Contact lenses are very popular because along with correcting the vision, they are also convenient, comfortable and do not interfere with everyday activities like sports, exercising, dressing up for parties etc. However, swimming and showering are two things that cannot be done while wearing the contact lenses.
Wearing contact lenses while taking a shower can cause certain health issues and inconvenience people. It is best to open the lenses, take a bath and then put them on again. While it may seem like an inconvenience, it is necessary.
Contact lenses absorb everything they come in contact with. Tap water contains numerous microbes. These, when absorbed by the contact lenses can cause eye infections.
People wearing contact lenses are prone to keratitis which results in the inflammation of the cornea. While in its mild form it is treatable, if left untreated, it can cause loss of vision. When people shower using tap water, microbes entering the eye can cause microbial keratitis.
Microbes, that enter the eye while taking a shower with lenses on, tend to stick to the surface of the lenses leading to the abrasion of the cornea. These scratches too can lead to keratitis but this type of keratitis is generally non-infectious. However, microbes entering the eye through the open wounds on the cornea can lead to further harmful infections.
Some common microbes, found in tap water, that are known to cause Keratitis are:
- Acanthamoeba: The resultant Keratitis caused is of the infectious variety that might even lead to loss of vision making cornea transplant a necessity.
- Bacteria: Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, Streptococcus species etc. can cause bacterial keratitis.
- Viruses: Adenovirus, herpes simplex virus and varicella-zoster virus cause viral keratitis.
- Fungi: Species of Candida, Fusarium and Aspergillus cause fungal keratitis.
Changes the shape of the lenses
Tap water can also cause the lenses to swell up. This changes their shape and makes them stick to the eye thereby causing abrasions on the cornea. These are uncomfortable and irritate the eye. Additionally, the minute open wounds on the cornea also permit the entry of germs and other external irritants.
Leaving this untreated can result in eye infections. Even in the very mild form, it causes the eyes to become red and start itching badly. Rubbing the eyes at this point further aggravates the problem.
Best practice for using lenses while taking a shower
Before going to take a shower, take off the lenses and store them in the solution provided for its storage. Since the solution also helps to clean the lenses, keeping them in the solution will enable people to wear a fresh and comfortable pair of lenses. This will ensure better care for the eyes too.
If by chance someone forgets to take off the contact lenses before taking a shower and experiences irritation, blurred vision or redness of the eye, they should immediately get in touch with a doctor.
Wearing Alcon contact lenses is extremely beneficial for the eyes. But to maximise the benefits of wearing contact lenses, it is important to follow the best practices for taking care of the same.
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