Contact Us to Schedule
an Appointment
925-298-9745
Home » Ophthalmology » Contact Lens Infection

Contact Lens Infection in Houston, TX

Millions of people use contact lenses each day without incident, but some people do experience severe complications from contact lens use. Poor hygiene, contact lens overuse and wearing poorly sized contact lenses (or cosmetic colored lenses) can lead to contact lens-related eye infection. Eye Excellence, located in Houston and serving Missouri City and the surrounding areas of Texas, treats contact lens infection.

What can cause contact lenses related eye infections?

Although problems with contact lenses are rare, there is always the possibility of developing an eye infection as a result of use. Most contact lens-related eye infections are due to bacteria with contributing factors including:

  • Wearing your contact lenses for extended periods of time.
  • Exposure to pollutants
  • Reuse of cleaning and storage solutions
  • Lack of tear exchange
  • Poor contact lens hygiene

How can I avoid getting an eye infection due to contact lenses?

Proper lens hygiene is the best way to prevent contact lens-related eye infections. You should always clean your lenses according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and follow any and all instructions provided by your eye care specialist. Do not re-use old solution and dispose of contact lenses when instructed. You should avoid sleeping in your contacts, even if you have “extended wear” contacts as this can increase your chances of infection, as well as damage to your eye. Always wash your hands thoroughly before handling lenses.

Below are some of the most common eye infections associated with wearing contact lenses.

What are corneal ulcers?

A corneal ulcer, also called ulcerative keratitis, is an open sore on the cornea. Corneal ulcers can be painful and very serious as they can lead to a loss of vision or even blindness. Most corneal ulcers are caused by a bacterial infection that may or may not be inflicted by injury to the eye. Individuals who wear contact lenses are more prone to corneal ulcers because of the lenses’ direct contact to the eye’s surface.

What are the symptoms of corneal ulcers?

Corneal ulcers can be extremely uncomfortable and painful. Sometimes too small to see, corneal ulcers can appear as a gray or white area on the cornea. Other symptoms can include:

  • Redness
  • Tearing
  • Discharge
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light

How are corneal ulcers diagnosed and treated?

It is important to catch corneal ulcers early as they can become serious, causing loss of vision and even blindness. Your ophthalmologist will perform an examination using a slit lamp. Drops may be placed in your eye containing dye fluorescein to help make the corneal ulcer visible. A scraping may be taken and sent to a laboratory to determine the cause and best form of treatment.

Contact lenses should be discontinued immediately. Depending on the cause, antibiotics or antiviral medication will be prescribed. Treatment may be in the form of drops or ointment. If severe damage has been done to the cornea, a corneal transplant may be necessary.

What is Contact Lens Induced Acute Red Eye (CLARE)?

CLARE is an inflammation of the outer surface of the eye and usually only occurs in patients who wear contact lenses. It is caused by bacteria entering the eye from becoming attached to the surface of the contact lens. The bacteria cause the cornea and conjunctiva to become inflamed. This type of infection is common in individuals who sleep in their contacts. Symptoms include redness, itching, and watery eyes.

What is the treatment for CLARE?

In the case of CLARE, the use of contact lens should be discontinued immediately. Anti-inflammatory and antibiotic drops may be prescribed if inflammation does not subside after discontinuation of contact lenses.

What is Contact Lens Papillary Conjunctivitis (CLPC)?

CLPC is an allergic type of inflammation of the upper eyelid and is a common problem amongst people who wear contact lenses.

What are the symptoms of CLPC?

Symptoms of CLPC can include itching, mucus discharge, increased lens movement and blurred vision and swelling of the upper eyelid.

What is the treatment for CLPC?

If diagnosed with CLPC, you should discontinue wearing your contact lenses. Your optometrist may also prescribe a topical steroid to reduce inflammation.

Early detection and treatment are important in preventing vision loss from contact lens infection. If you live in Houston, Missouri City and the surrounding areas of Texas and wear contact lenses and have excessive eye redness or irritation, please contact us to determine if your symptoms are caused by an infection. Antibiotics are often needed to correct this problem.