Feb 3, 2009

Lenses and late nights

by Kerah Kemmerer, Editor for Content

Students are one of the greatest offenders of sleeping with contact lenses still nestled around the cornea. Infection from this sort of activity presents a substantial risk to the pupils, and for convenience’s sake, it is a risk that too many are willing to take.

The use of contact lenses can put one at risk of several serious eye infections and corneal ulcers. These conditions can develop very quickly and in some cases, cause blindness, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Wearers who snooze with lenses still in place are at a greater risk of keratitis. This condition, where the eye’s cornea becomes inflamed after contact with a foreign object, allows bacteria to enter the cornea. The condition involves moderate to intense pain, impaired eyesight and can lead to corneal erosion, according to the University of Michigan Kellog Eye Center.

“Four types of lenses were studied, rigid, hydrogel daily disposable, hydrogel and silicone hydrogel, and patients’ eye problems on the cornea were scored according to their severity,” Dr. Philip Morgan, an optometrist in Manchester University’s Faculty of Life Sciences said in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

He recommends for those who decide to sleep with their lenses in to wear silicone hydrogel lenses, which decreases the risk for infection by five times compared to regular hydrogel lenses.

The silicone hydrogel lenses are designed to allow better oxygen flow to the eye, decreasing the risk of inflammation, according to siliconehydrogels.org.

“I have had swollen eyes for not letting my eyes ‘breathe’ enough without contacts,” senior Alison Young said. “I don’t sleep in them because when I do they stick to my eyes and feel gross.

However, Young does admit to not replacing her contacts monthly like she is supposed to, but rather every two to three months in order to save money.

Students like junior Alivia Ashe often pull late-nights or all-nighters and are not always aware of the serious risks involved.

Ashe has a slight advantage though as she wears Pure Vision Toric lenses. These contacts are designed so the wearer can sleep with them, but they must be replaced every two weeks.

“They are convenient because they can be worn over night,” Ashe said. “However, I often find myself having to take them out at night because they sometimes become dry, irritating or foggy during the day. For the most part, though, they are more convenient than my old brand that did not allow for all night study sessions.”

Senior Amanda McCann and junior Brandon Lison claim they do not risk it when it comes their eyes.

“I don’t sleep in them because I heard it dries your eyes out when you do, and I have dry eyes as it is,” McCann said.

“I change them whenever they bother me, but I am not sure when I am supposed to change them,” Lison said. “I don’t sleep in them cause the doc said not to.”

Students should discuss with his or her optometrist what type of lenses they currently use, which are more conducive to a student’s lifestyle and schedule and the steps which should be taken to protect their eyesight.

Contact Kerah Kemmerer at
kkemmerer@liberty.edu. 


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