Wearing contact lenses can be a better alternative for those who don’t really like the way they look in glasses. They can also be more convenient for people who live an active lifestyle. However, the one drawback to contact lenses is that it’s more important to keep them properly cleaned.

What Happens to Your Eyes When You Wear Dirty Contact Lenses?

When you wear dirty glasses, the worst thing that’s going to happen is that your vision will be obstructed. That in itself won’t pose a danger to your health. Dirty or improperly cleaned contact lenses, however, can cause your eyes to become infected. One such condition is keratitis, which involves an infected cornea. This can also be called a corneal ulcer.

The cornea is the outer film that protects the eye. An infection affecting this film can grow into a very serious condition, risking the overall health of the eye. Anything breeding on the contact lens, such as a fungus, bacteria, or virus, can cause a corneal ulcer. In rare cases, a parasite can attack the eye and cause keratitis.

It may be possible to identify an eye infection, before it gets too serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop wearing your contact lenses immediately and contact your eye doctor as soon as possible. Early detection may help you get the condition treated before it becomes too serious.

Warning signs of an eye infection include:

  • Swelling or redness around the eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Unexplained tears, or a sticky, gooey secretion from the eye
  • Eye pain
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Itching or burning, or the sensation that you have a foreign object stuck in your eye

What You Can Do to Avoid Developing an Eye Infection

Instead of taking chances, it’s important to take steps to reduce the risk of infection. That means taking proper care of your contact lenses at all times. For instance, many people will “top off” the cleaning solution to reduce waste or save money. This is never a good idea. You should use a fresh sampling of solution for every cleaning.

Additionally, it’s important to keep the case for your lenses clean and to get a new one every 2-3 months. Take your contacts out, before going to bed, and always wash your hands, prior to handling the lenses.

Exposure to water can increase your risk of infection, as well. Always remove contacts, before taking a shower or bath, getting into a hot tub, or before going swimming.

By reading the instructions that come with your contact lenses, you can learn how to take better care of them. This isn’t just important to reduce wear and tear on the lenses, but also to protect your eyes against infection. Improper care of lenses can lead to worse vision problems that can impact your life, so being meticulous in their care is important.