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Common Problems
There are a number of possible complications which could occur from wearing contact lenses. Generally, these occur as the result of improper fitting, inappropriate lens care and handling (e.g.: not disinfecting the lenses between uses) or the use of old, worn out lenses. Even so, these complications are fairly uncommon and easily remedied. A complete description of signs, symptoms and treatments are included in the EyeCare Report: Contact Lenses. Examples of eye health problems resulting from problematic contact lens wear include:

Corneal Abrasion
The most common complication is a scratched cornea, also called an abrasion. This may occur from a particle of abrasive material (for example sand or some airborne debris) getting under the lens. This is far more common with RGP than soft lenses. There is a varying degree of pain or discomfort and a feeling of ≥something in there≤. May result from wearing an RGP lens with an edge defect or a soft lens with an edge tear. Often does not but may require medical treatment.

Conjunctivitis
This is an infection, usually bacterial, sometimes viral, of the thin membrane which lines the sclera and the inside of the eyelids. Lack of disinfection of contact lenses and handling lenses with unwashed hands are the primary causes of conjunctivitis in contact lens wearers. Symptoms include red eyes and often some discharge. The eyelids may be ≥stuck together≤ upon awakening. Some irritation, usually a burning sensation, may be present. Warm compress es may be an effectine trerapy. May be self limiting or require medical treatment.

Keratitis
Infection of the cornea. There are significant and potentially vision threatening complications if this infection is not properly managed. Symptoms include pain, sometimes rather significant, and sensitivity to light. This infection is most common with soft lenses that are not properly disinfected, stored or rinsed with contaminated water or solutions. Requires medical treatment, sometimes as an emergency.

Corneal Edema
Swelling, neovascularization (new blood vessel growth) and infiltrates (cellular defects): Related to insufficient oxygen to the cornea. Improperly used extended wear lenses are the most likely cause. If detecte d in time, the cornea will most likely heal without complications. There are often no symptoms. When there are symptoms, they include: hazy vision, especially upon awakening, halos around lights and pain upon removal of the lenses. Allowing the condition to continue could result in permanent scarring of the cornea and infection. Prevention is the best treatment. Regular follow-up examinations can detect oxygen deprivation and microscopic cornea changes before they become problematic. Replacing contact len ses as recommended and limiting over-night use as necessary to maintain normal eye health is very important.

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Contact Lenses are prescription medical devices. Even if worn only for cosmetic reasons they must be prescribed and properly fitted by an eye care professional. Always follow the care and cleaning guidelines. Remove your contacts immediately if you experience any redness or discomfort and notify your eye care doctor immediately. Have regular eye exams. Never swap lenses with another person. This can potentially lead to infection and possibly serious complications.

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