Most contact lenses are not designed to be continuously worn. Normally, you remove the lenses at the end of the day, and either throw them out or disinfect them with a solution for the next day’s use.
What you absolutely shouldn’t do it wear them for six months without removing them. This is exactly what one college student in Taiwan did, and now she’s blind.
Lian Kao left her contact lenses in for six months.
If contact lenses are left in for too long, they can become a breeding ground for bacteria that doesn’t like oxygen.
Acanthamoeba is a common amoeba that’s usually harmless to humans. However, a colony of acanthamoeba was able to get established under Kao’s contact lenses, which were teeming with bacteria. It’s not known exactly when or how Kao picked up the acanthamoeba, but doctors believe she could have been infected while swimming with her contacts in.
As the acanthamoeba colony grew, it began to burrow into Kao’s cornea in search of more bacteria to eat. That was when a condition known as Acanthamoebic keratitis set in.
Kao’s eyes now look like this and she is completely blind. Acanthamoebic keratitis typically causes some pain and redness, but not enough for most people to seek medical attention.
Corneal transplants can sometimes reverse the damage of Acanthamoebic keratitis. Most of the time, the patients stay blinded because the infection is notoriously difficult to get rid of.
(via IFL Science)
I was going to order some new contact lenses this weekend, but I think I’ll just stick with my glasses. This is terrifying.