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  #1  
Old 01-12-2006, 11:58 PM
spankari spankari is offline
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Can wearing contacts too long damage your eyes?

I've been wearing contacts for about 10 years now and I typically leave them in for up to 6 months at a time. I've used mostly Acuvue but recently switched to Night and Day disposable contacts which are supposed to be safe for 30 days of continuous wear.

Is there really any harm in leaving them in this long or do the contact lens companies just want you to buy more? I can't even feel them and often forget that I even wear contacts. I've never had an eye infection, I go to the eye doctor once a year and my vision hasn't changed at all in the last 10 years. I've heard that my chances of getting an infection are increased, but I would think I would know once my eyes were infected and I would then remove them.

The only thing I've noticed is that when I do actually take them out, my eyes feel like they're burning and are extremely sensitive until I put new ones in.

Have there been any cases in which wearing contacts for extended periods of time have caused any serious damage to the eyes? I think maybe my eyes have adapted to them and it's as though they're a part of me now.
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  #2  
Old 01-13-2006, 09:16 AM
TellMeI'mNotCrazy TellMeI'mNotCrazy is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by spankari
I've been wearing contacts for about 10 years now and I typically leave them in for up to 6 months at a time. I've used mostly Acuvue but recently switched to Night and Day disposable contacts which are supposed to be safe for 30 days of continuous wear.

Is there really any harm in leaving them in this long or do the contact lens companies just want you to buy more? I can't even feel them and often forget that I even wear contacts. I've never had an eye infection, I go to the eye doctor once a year and my vision hasn't changed at all in the last 10 years. I've heard that my chances of getting an infection are increased, but I would think I would know once my eyes were infected and I would then remove them.

The only thing I've noticed is that when I do actually take them out, my eyes feel like they're burning and are extremely sensitive until I put new ones in.

Have there been any cases in which wearing contacts for extended periods of time have caused any serious damage to the eyes? I think maybe my eyes have adapted to them and it's as though they're a part of me now.
Quote:
but I would think I would know once my eyes were infected and I would then remove them
You'd really be willing to take a reactive approach, and wait for an eye infection to tell you it's time to take your contacts out?
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  #3  
Old 01-13-2006, 09:17 AM
TellMeI'mNotCrazy TellMeI'mNotCrazy is offline
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Yeah, I can quote rel gud.
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  #4  
Old 01-13-2006, 09:24 AM
Seren Seren is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Well, I've got three big* scars (and lots of little ones) on one of my eyes from wearing contacts too long.

Of course, I only wore them 10 or 12 hrs a day and removed them every night.
(I've got disposable ones that I wear for a couple months and then toss out for a new pair. They're supposed to be replaced every couple weeks though.)

*big, as in the doctor can see them, not big as in they affect my vision.
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  #5  
Old 01-13-2006, 09:29 AM
primer_dimer primer_dimer is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2004
I wore "hard" contact lenses for a while a couple of years back. Had to stop because, being hard, they were not oxygen-permeable - blood vessels started growing into the lens of my eyes to supply the oxygen that they should have been absorbing through the surface. A worrying prospect, to say the least.
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Old 01-13-2006, 09:43 AM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Disclaimer: I do work for an ophthalmology department, but in research. I do not deal with contact/glasses sales at all. IANAD/N.

You seriously want to risk screwing up your eyesight just because you don't feel like taking your contacts out?! Wow.

If you don't believe the contact lens companies, here's the Mayo Clinic's description of contact lens complications (scroll about 2/3 of the way down the page). Among other things, you're risking depriving your cornea of oxygen, which can even lead to blood vessels growing into the cornea (corneal vascularization), which might mean you have to change lens types or stop wearing contacts completely. The contacts might warp your cornea, screwing with your vision and requiring you to stop wearing them for weeks or months while the contact shifts back into shape. You could have an allergic reaction to a protein layer that develops on uncleaned contacts, leading to things like an eye discharge and blurry vision. And yes, you might even get an infection that could mean anything from leave out your contacts while you take meds, to scarring of the cornea affecting your vision, all the way up to loss of the eye in extreme cases.

I'm not qualified to judge why your eyes burn when your contacts are out, but my wild guess would be that you are affecting your cornea in some fashion, and not in a good way either. I also suspect that you haven't told your eye doctor what you're doing. Corneal changes can be very gradual, and if your doctor thinks/you tell your doctor that you're following the instructions properly, the doc might make the error of taking you at your word and not checking closely for what might be happening to your eye.

You might be lucky for now, you might be lucky the rest of your life. But if you're not, that's an awful lot of hassle just to avoid taking out your contacts and cleaning them properly.
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