It should be a common knowledge that sleeping with contact lenses on can cause damage to the eyes.
Sadly, deceived by the “Night and Day” contacts, a man named Chad Groeschen, made a fatal mistake which lead to losing his vision.
Namely, this Cincinnati man decided to sleep with the lenses on for a couple of nights straight. All of a sudden, he started experiencing excruciating pain.
“Halfway through the day my eyes started itching, and I thought it was probably allergies, so I popped them out. The next morning the vision in my left eye started to turn cloudy,” he started his story.
“The kind of contacts I have are called Night and Day’ contacts, and it was my impression you could leave them in for 30 days straight,” Groeschen told USA Today, explaining that he took his lenses out about once a week. “I figured the less I was messing with my eyes, the better.”
What this man wasn’t aware of was that despite he was told he could wear the lenses marketed for “continuous wear” for a week or so straight, there was still a huge risk of contracting infection, which he did.
Upon visiting a specialist, Chad was told he developed a corneal ulcer infected with Pseudomonas bacteria, which doctors believed was caused by his contact lenses. Further, they explained that the contact lens acted like a petri dish, holding the bacteria that then attacked his eye.
In order to restore his sight at his left eye, Chad needed to undergo a corneal transplant.
“Good vision contributes to overall well-being and independence for people of all ages, so it’s important not to cut corners on healthy contact lens wear and care,” says CDC Medical Epidemiologist Jennifer Cope, M.D., M.P.H. “We are finding that many wearers are unclear about how to properly wear and care for contact lenses,” she said.
Reports are that improper handling and wearing of contact lenses puts many in risk of developing eye infections, with one in 500 people being affected by serious eye infections that easily lead to vision loss and complete blindness every year.
Chad isn’t the only person who shares his story in order to raise awareness.
Another young person, 22-year-old Mike Krumholz, could easily go permanently blind because he took a 40 minute nap with daily disposable contacts still in his eyes. After the nap, he took a shower and removed the lenses before going to sleep. The following morning, he woke with an itchy, “gunky” eye that was light sensitive.
Sadly, he was infected by a rare parasite called Acanthamoeba keratitis, which can cause blindness.
“There is no pain out there that I could ever imagine worse than this. Even the strongest medicines do nothing. And the worst part is, I do not know if I will ever get vision back in my eye at only 21 years old,” Krumholz wrote in a post. “I have not been able to step outside for 30+ days and I have my hurricane shutters up to protect me from light.”
Following the parasite treatment, which he was told would last for months, Krumholz could be ready for corneal transplant to remove the part of his eye that was infected.
“I know that I’m never gonna see fully again, but I don’t know how much of my vision I’m gonna get back,” he said.
Some of the tips that can help prevent catching eye infection are as follows:
- Wash hands with soap and water and dry them well before touching contact lenses
- Take contacts out before sleeping, showering or swimming
- Rub and rinse contacts in disinfecting solution each time they remove them
- Rub and rinse the case with contact lens solution, dry with a clean tissue and store it upside down with the caps off after each use
- Replace contact lens cases at least once every three months
- Avoid “topping off” solution in lens case (adding fresh solution to old solution)
- Carry a backup pair of glasses in case contact lenses have to be taken out.
Always avoid sleeping with contact lenses on.
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