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Cincinnati Man Warns of Proper Contact Lens Usage after Going Blind in One Eye, Recommends Taking Them out while Sleeping, Swimming, and Showering

( [email protected] ) Aug 21, 2015 06:29 PM EDT
Contact lens users are told to follow certain rules when sleeping, swimming, and showering.  It has been discovered that many users break these rules, and a recent Cincinnati Man found out the hard way that it can lead to blindness.
Are you using your contacts properly? Alamy

Contact lens users are told to follow certain rules when sleeping, swimming, and showering.  It has been discovered that many users break these rules, and a recent Cincinnati Man found out the hard way that it can lead to blindness.   

According to the Daily Mail, Chad Groeschen, from Cincinnati, had a habit of sleeping in his extended-wear contact lenses.  He woke up one morning with an unbearable pain in his left eye and was barely able to see, and eye specialists told the 39-year-old that his eye was infected with Pseudomonas bacteria. 

The lenses that Groeschen wears are extended wear, which can be worn between one to four weeks, but they are not recommended for overnight wear.  Groeschen is a scuba diver who explained that he experienced itchiness, loss of vision, as well as major headaches. 

The doctors informed him that the bacteria had got under his lens and began attacking the eye, with "the contact acting like a petri dish".  He has reported that he is now blind in one eye, and his doctors told him that he will require a cornea transplant to restore his vision. 

Groeschen's story is a cautionary tale as to how to properly wear contact lenses.  A recent study has found that contacts may increase the risk of eye infections by transferring bugs from the skin to the eye, and lenses appear to pick up bacteria before they are placed in people's eyes.  This will trigger some serious infections as well as inflammation. 

The researchers of this special study also took the time to take hundreds of swabs of various parts of the eyes of nine contact lens wearers and 11 people who did not wear contact lenses.  They found that with both groups, the eye surface, or conjunctiva, harbored a very diverse range of bacteria than the skin directly beneath the eye.  In fact, there is three times the usual proportion of three types of bugs: Methylobacterium, Lactobacillus, Acinetobacter, and Pseudomas, were identified on eyeballs wearing the lenses. 

A separate article from the Daily Mail reveals a survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of 1,000 adults.  It found that 99 percent were breaking one of the golden rules for wearing contact lenses. 

That is, more than half of wearers admitted that they had slept overnight wearing their contacts, and at least 9 out of 10 people had taken a nap with contacts in.  Another bad habit amongst contact lens wearers is topping up rather than replacing contact lens solution.  One of the biggest concerns was the habit of wearers to expose their contact lenses to water by rinsing them in tap water, showering, or going swimming. 

It should be known that the number of contact lens wearers has grown steadily over the last 20 years with 3.5 million people in the UK and 30 million in the U.S. choosing the soft lenses instead of glasses to correct their eyesight.  There are reports that a third of these wearers are going to a doctor due to red or painful eyes. 

After his experience, Groeschen recommends seeking a specialist immediately and maintain impeccable hygiene when it comes to your eyes.  It illustrates the importance of maintaining proper contact lens use, or you can literally go blind.