WARNING: The following images contain graphic content that some viewers will find disturbing.
This article may not be suited for you if you are prone to queasiness. If, however, you are a contact lens wearer, you may want to read on, even if you won’t like what you’ll see.
Contact lenses have been a great alternative to glasses for years. I have personally been wearing contacts for over 2 decades, which is why one eye doctor’s warning truly hit home for me.
Contact-lens-wearing veterans have been given all the warnings before. “Clean your contacts daily” and “don’t EVER sleep in your contacts” are phrases we often hear.
But what do those pesky eye doctors know, right? They only attended school for years to learn about the dos and don’ts of eye care.
One optometrist from North Carolina shared a grave — and rather graphic — warning on social media for anyone who dares to sleep in their contact lenses.
Dr. Patrick Vollmer is an author, speaker and clinical researcher who specializes in eye trauma and contact lens emergencies.
He recently encountered a patient who had been sleeping in her contacts regularly, and the result wasn’t a pretty one. Still, he thought it would be useful to circulate a post on Facebook detailing the patient’s condition so that readers would see how serious sleeping in contacts can be.
The patient had been referred to Dr. Vollmer from urgent care. Her eyes were red and full of a green, gunky goo.
Dr. Vollmer calls the bacteria in this patient’s eye a “direct result of sleeping in contact lenses.” He goes on to explain exactly what this bacteria does once it gets in.
“The bacteria explosively eats away at the patient’s cornea in a matter of days leaving a soupy, white necrosis (dead tissue) in its wake,” Vollmer wrote.
Thankfully, antibiotic drops were administered “around the clock,” Vollmer continued, and he was able to “reduce permanent scarring.”
“While this patient’s eye continues to drastically improve from baseline,” Vollmer explained, “she will very likely exhibit some form of residual vision loss even after treatment.”
“I don’t ever recommend sleeping in any brand of contact lenses,” Vollmer shared. “The risks outweigh the benefits every time.”
“It takes seconds to remove your contacts but a potential lifetime of irreversible damage if you choose to leave them in,” he continued.
“People need to see these images and remind themselves/family/friends to also be aware of contact lens misuse.”
Liftable, a section of the Western Journal, has reached out to Vollmer for comment but has not yet received a response. We will update this article if and when we do.
Vollmer is just one doctor, but stories like this one are more common than we might think. In 2017, the CDC released an interview with a woman who learned overnight just what “contact lens misuse” can do.
Te had been wearing contact lenses for years until the day she realized doing so might cause her permanent vision loss. Watch her story. It might make you rethink your current contact lens habits.
Don’t let what happened to this woman, or to Dr. Vollmer’s patient, happen to you. Clean your contacts. Take them out at night. I know I’ll never be sleeping in my contacts again!
To learn more about proper contact lens wear and care, check out this helpful article from WebMD. And please, don’t sleep in your contacts!
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