Chad Groeschen, a 39-year old man from Cincinnati, Ohio, lost vision in one eye because he didn’t remove his contact lenses during night time. Strangely, the type of lenses he was wearing were marketed as extended wear lenses.
Doctors told him that he was infected with a bacteria which led to an eye ulcer that reduced his vision to 20 percent to the left eye. Pseudomonas bacteria infect nearly 20,000 patients in the U.S. every year, an official report shows.
Mr. Groeschen, however, said that he had no problem with his contact lenses for more than 21 years. He first started to wear them when he was 18, but only last year he began using the extended day and night type.
Moreover, no one warned him that those lenses could leave him blind if he wore them during his sleep. He learned it the hard way last month, when he noticed that he’s vision was foggy. He also had to put up with excruciating pain in his left eye and left side of the skull for nearly three weeks.
He likened the pain’s intensity with an 8-inch nail drilling through his eye and face. He had no options to relieve its pain, and even faint light hurt him.
Of the 41 million U.S. adults, who reported that they wear contact lenses, more than a half admitted that they were not removing lenses before falling asleep. Of those people, nearly 20,000 turn to a doctor to cure their eye infections every year.
Mr. Groeschen’s left eye was irreversibly damaged by his habit, but it may be saved through a costly cornea transplant. Currently, he can only distinguish light and fuzzy forms with the eye since its capacity was reduced to 20 percent.
Yet, his doctors believe that the scenario could have been much worse if he had failed to reach for help in time.
“If it’s left untreated, it can actually cause a person to completely lose the eye,”
noted Dr. William Faulkner, an eye infection specialist.
Ophthalmologists also recommend people not to wear contact lenses when taking a shower or bathing in swimming pool. Plus, you should change the case every season and make sure not to reuse contact lens solution.
But most importantly, you should take the lenses out before going to sleep even if you plan only to nap for a few minutes. Dr. Faulkner explained that the risk of infection is 10 fold for wearers who sleep with their contacts in.
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