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Is there long term damage from contact lens wear?

My son is 17 years old and he get used to wear contacts for sport. He wants to wear them more often, and I am not 100% happy with this. I would need confirmation that there is absolutely no risk of any long term damage from wearing them every day for up to 14 hours. I would like to know where I can see the results of some studies where the results have shown no damage, or for you to reassure me that there is zero risk.
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Answers (2)

  • b1ttersw33t7


    There will never be zero risk. You are wearing a foreign body in the eye and no one will guarantee 100 per cent safety. However with modern lenses, the adherence to strict hygiene and care of the lenses, and regular aftercare, the risks are very minimal. The latest soft lenses are made of silicone hydrogel material which is a revolution in all aspects of wear and further reduce the risk of eye infections and alterations to the corneal structure. There is a slightly increased risk of adverse reaction if these lenses are worn on an extended wear basis (overnight), but worn on a daily basis they are very safe. I see many patients who have worn old style contact lenses for 20 to 30 years showing no clinical signs of any adverse changes, and modern lenses are a quantum leap from the old contact lens materials. I would have no hesitation in recommending daily wear of silicone hydrogel contact lenses in suitable patients.
  • Kimberly Y


    Long-term contact lens use can lead to alterations in corneal thickness, stromal thickness, curvature, corneal sensitivity, cell density, and epithelial oxygen uptake, etc. Other changes may include the formation of epithelial vacuoles and microcysts (containing cellular debris) as well as the emergence of polymegethism in the corneal endothelium. Decreased corneal sensitivity, vision loss, and photophobia have also been observed in patients who have worn contact lens for an extended period of time. Many contact lens-induced changes in corneal structure are reversible if contact lenses are removed for an extended period of time.

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