crsheader Index Related Topics Contact Lens Problems: Teen Version

What are some problems that may happen with contact lenses?

Problems with contact lenses are not common, but they can happen. Wearing and cleaning your contacts as directed by your eye care provider can decrease your risk of problems. Know what to watch for get treated before problems get serious. Some problems that may happen are:

  • Corneal ulcer: This is an infection that can lead to loss of vision. It can happen with any type of contact lens. The biggest risk factor is sleeping with your contacts in your eyes. Swimming while wearing contacts is another big risk factor

    If you have pain, redness, or tearing, take your contacts out and see your eye care provider right away. Early treatment can often cure the infection. If an infection is not treated, it could cause permanent scarring and loss of central vision. To help prevent corneal ulcers, sterilize and store your lenses properly, and do not wear them when you are sleeping or swimming.

  • Tight lens syndrome: A soft contact can dry out on your eye and shrink a little. This squeezes the front of your eye like a suction cup. Tight lenses may lead to redness, discomfort, or blurred vision. You may need wetting solution, a looser-fitting lens, or a different type of lens.
  • Allergies: Contacts can make allergies worse. Allergens such as pollen may stick to your contacts. You may become sensitive to protein deposits on lenses, or to chemicals in contact lens solutions (such as thimerosal). Your provider may suggest that you change lens solutions, change the kind of contacts you wear, or that you use prescription eyedrops.
  • Cornea problems: Wearing contacts can scratch the cornea. Contacts can also lead to swelling of the cornea and the growth of abnormal blood vessels on the cornea. (The cornea is the clear outer layer on the front of the eyeball.) You may feel like there is something in your eye besides your contacts. Cornea problems usually can be treated effectively if they are found early.

What are the symptoms of contact lens problems?

The most important symptoms are redness, discomfort or pain, and decreased vision. If you have any of these symptoms, take your lenses out and see your eye care provider right away.

Reviewed for medical accuracy by faculty at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins. Web site: Developed by RelayHealth. Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2011-07-21
Last reviewed: 2010-09-07 This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional. References
Pediatric Advisor 2011.4 Index
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