Dr. Ankita Patil

Contact Lens

The most common contact lens-related eye infections are corneal infections (keratitis), an infection of the transparent dome in front of the eye covering the pupil and iris. They’re also called corneal ulcers.

Contact lens-related infections of the eye can be extremely uncomfortable and, depending on the cause and severity of the infection, can lead to vision loss and possibly even blindness if left untreated. The most common eye infection related to contact lens usage is keratitis, a corneal infection that can range from mild to severe and has multiple causes. Serious eye infections can cause corneal scarring, which can ultimately require a corneal transplant to restore vision.

Causes of Contact Lens-related Eye Infections

Most contact lens-related eye infections can be avoided by practicing good habits and proper hygiene in regards to handling your lenses. Here are some common causes of contact lens-related eye infections:

  • Sleeping in contact lenses
  • Wearing contact lenses for extended periods of time
  • Environmental irritants
  • Reduction of tear exchange while wearing contact lenses (especially soft lenses in which metabolic by-products and tear film debris is increased)
  • Improper maintenance of contact lenses or lens case
  • Reuse and/or topping off of contact solution

Being aware of and practicing proper contact lens usage, care, and maintenance is the easiest way to reduce the risk of infection from contact lenses.

Symptoms of a Contact Lens-related Eye Infection

  • Blurry vision
  • Redness, pain, or swelling of the eye
  • Eye tearing or discharge
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Burning or itching of the eye
  • Sensation of foreign object in the eye

If you experience any of these symptoms of an eye infection, you should contact your ophthalmologist as quickly as possible. Treating an eye infection in a timely manner will not only help you feel better but could actually save your sight. You should also wear eyeglasses rather than your contact lenses until your eye condition has been properly diagnosed, as not to aggravate your symptoms.

Diagnosing a Contact Lens-Related Eye Infection

Diagnosing a contact lens-related eye infection will require a thorough eye exam by your ophthalmologist. You should never try to self-diagnose any eye condition, as this can cause harm to your eyesight and delay needed treatment. Be sure to take your lens case with you to your eye appointment since it may be helpful in determining the cause of your eye problem.