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‘Wrong use of prescription contact lens can cause blindness’


Contact Lens

Contact lenses, both prescription and cosmetic, can be bought from any store, without proper knowledge on usage and maintenance. Dr. Nwosu Chidiebere, an optometrist specialised in prescription glasses and contact lenses, said wrong use of contact lenses could lead to blindness.

What are prescription contact lenses?
PRESCRIPTION contact lenses are strictly contact lenses worn directly on the eyeballs, unlike spectacles or glasses that are held in place by a frame. It rests on the cornea and correct refractory errors or eye defects.
There are many cosmetic stores selling prescription contact lenses now…

Prescription contact lenses should never be sold outside the eye clinic. However, I know some departmental stores might be able to sell cosmetic contact lenses. That can be sold because it just enhances the colour of your eyes and look.

But generally, contact lens prescription is more than just selling the contact lens. You should be able to tell the patient the dos and don’ts for the specific kind of contacts they are going for. Some are called daily disposables. They are usually 30 in a pack for every day you wear them. At the end of each day, you dispose to wear another one the next day.


Daily wear contacts are the ones you take out at the end of each day and soak in a solution to clean them.

Then we have extended wear that you can decide to wear for as long as 30 days before removing it from your eyes. They are gas/oxygen permeable contact lenses, so you can sleep with them comfortably. The eyes need a lot of oxygen to function properly. So, because the extended wear is oxygen permeable unlike the others, it is safe to stay on for a long period.

But most people are wearing these contact lenses wrongly. We have people trying to sleep with the daily wear or wearing the daily wear for an extended period, which leads to serious eye complications. This is why contact lenses are not just about buying and selling.

You need a specialist to advise you on the right way to use it, as well as how to care for it, so as not to endanger your ocular health, which can lead to blindness. You must bear in mind that the daily disposable, daily wear and extended wear/gas permeable lenses are also available in cosmetic contact lenses. However, the gas permeable cosmetic contact lenses are more durable and expensive.

What is the right way to get a prescription contact lens?
The first step is to visit an eye clinic and get your eyes checked. This is because, before you can decide to wear contact lenses, there are a lot of things you should also know about. For instance, you need to make sure you don’t have a problem with your tear production. If you have dry eyes or acute allergies, contact lenses can worsen the condition.

So basically, not everybody is qualified or should use contact lenses, be it prescription or cosmetic. This is because some conditions automatically make the use of contact lens a danger to your eye health.


What maintenance tips should people wearing contact lenses know?
Firstly, if you are using the daily wear contact lenses, you should make sure you take it out at the end of each day and soak it in a solution. Do not substitute the solution for water or any other liquid. Use strictly only the solution. This is important because the tear ducts are filled with such debris as mucus and dust from the air, and these things attach themselves to the lenses. But the solution contains special ingredients like surfactants that actually dissolve these unwanted deposits on the contact lenses, so that bacteria and other microorganisms will not grow on it and cause irritation to the eyes.

So, when you decide to substitute the contact lens solution for water that has passed through so many unsure sources, the chances of the water contaminating the lenses are very high. You might just be introducing a micro-organism into your eyes, which can even lead to blindness.

The fact that you are wearing contact lenses does not mean you cannot rub your eyes. You can rub your eyes gently, when you feel the need to. And even if the lens are displaced, all you need do is move your eyeballs around a little and it will sit back on your cornea.

Does the colour of prescription lens reduce its effectiveness?
No, it does not. The colours do not have any effect on the functionality of the lens, because the coloured area is usually the part that lies on the Iris. So, it only changes the colour of your iris. But the area you should be seeing through is usually not coloured but clear, so it does not affect your sight.

What informs your prescription?
First of all, the patient can specifically ask for it for certain reasons. It might be that they frequently break their glasses due to being carefree. Their prescription might also be so high, which can make their spectacles look ugly fashion-wise. And some patients just want the cosmetic input contact lenses give, so they go for coloured contact lenses.

Which is preferable, prescription glasses or contact lenses?
Because it is easy for patients to forget themselves, I think an extended wear contact lens is preferable, if the patient qualifies to wear one.


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