Contact Lenses and Blindness
Researchers in the Netherlands
report that the incidence of the normally rare eye condition "microbial
keratitis" increases dramatically among contact lens users.
The condition is an infection of the cornea that can lead to partial or
complete loss of vision in otherwise healthy eyes.
The researchers surveyed patients and opthamologists across the country
about the types of contact lenses worn, how long they were worn, and how
often microbial keratitis was diagnosed.
They found that soft lenses increased the risk of the condition more than
three times compared to the gas-permeable rigid type, but if these soft
"extended wear" lenses were worn overnight, the risk rose to 20 times
They condluded that overnight wear should be discouraged. Contact lens
users as a group face an 80 times higher risk of the condition than