Hey everyone, it’s Medicine Mondays again. This is just a short reminder to “Take care of your eyes“.
Take care of your eyes?
Don’t worry, we’re all doing fine over here.
However, I want to take the time to share a story with you guys. Basically, my wife and I both wear glasses and contact lenses. I’m sure this is common for many, many doctors. However, because of our schedules as medical students, residents, and now as attendings — we’re pretty bad about how we wear our contact lenses. I’ve been wearing “hard contacts” aka “Rigid Gas Permeable Contacts” for many years. I only switched over to “soft contacts” recently — maybe 5 years ago?
Anyways, in general, I think people (especially doctors) wear their contacts for much too long.
On a normal day, you probably put them around 7am (latest) and don’t take them out until maybe 9 or 10pm (at earliest). So basically your contacts have been sitting in your eyes for 15 hours — everyday. This is probably ok for some people, and in general they say you can wear contacts lenses for up to 14-16 hours a day. However, you can imagine that doctors may get up as early as 4 or 5 in the morning and not take out their contacts until 11pm or 12am. This is much too long, especially if you do it on a consistent basis.
Then, if you add that people tend to wear their contact lenses for too long. ie. wearing your two week contact lenses for a month or wearing your daily lenses for a weak, then you have a recipe for damage/injury to your eyes. Also, it’s not a good idea to swim with your contact lenses in either.
There are a ton of eye diseases associated with contact lenses wear, like Giant Papillary Conjuctivitis, Contact Lenses Acute Red Eye (CLARE), Keratitis, etc. I’m not an ophthalmologist, but I’m going to share what I think is a good idea for us doctors.
Ok… so what is it?
Basically, a lot of the problems that come from wearing contacts have to do with hygiene. People wearing them for too long, wearing them while swimming (or sleeping), not cleaning the lens case completely, “topping off” their solution instead of cleaning the case refilling it etc. This small things can add up and lead to chronic inflammation. Your body won’t like it.
However, I do realize we’re all busy and leave them in too long sometimes or fall asleep in them. We may try our best to “remember to wear glasses” on call, but sometimes we forget. It’s not a problem until it’s a problem… But here’s the thing. When it’s a problem, it’s a potentially big one. A colleague of mine got to the point where just putting in her contacts in the morning made her eyes tear and vision become blurry. In fact, it was still present even if she put a brand new pair of contacts in. Finally, she went to the optometrist and got checked out — who told her to try daily contact lenses.
Now, I’m not sure if it was just the change in type of contacts, or the daily use, or the fact she has to trash them and put in new one everyday, but her symptoms went away and haven’t come back. I’m pretty sure it was Giant Papillary Conjuctivitis.
For that reason, I’ve also switched to daily contact lenses — because some days I feel like my eyes get too dry and my contacts feel uncomfortable, even though I do my best to take care of my contacts.
The downside to this is that daily contact lenses are more expensive than the 2 week ones. However, I think it’s something to consider, especially for doctors who tend to overwear their contacts and fall asleep in them, or chronically forget to clean their contacts and get new solution. I hate to sound like a commercial, but it’s really helped, so maybe next time you see your optometrist ask for a week’s trail of dailys and see if it works for you.
Your eyes are important, take care of them.
It’s not a problem until it’s a problem…
So take good care of your contacts — so they can take good care of your eyes.
Consider trying daily contacts.
Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.
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