Does Wearing Contact Lenses Damage Your Vision?

Does Wearing Contact Lenses Damage Your Vision?

When it comes to our vision, sometimes the structures in our eyes are unable to get the image we’re looking at focused precisely on to our retinas. But before we get into that, lets just quickly recap the process. Light passes through the cornea and is focused. It passes through the pupil next and the iris controls exactly how much light gets through to maximize light in low light conditions and minimize it in overwhelmingly bright conditions. Next the crystalline lens behind the iris further focuses the light to create a sharp image on the retina. The retina, comprised of rods and cones, converts this light to electrical impulses and sends that information to the brain where it is interpreted as sight. Sometimes, the process fails and the image focuses before or after the retina. In these instances a correction needs to be made to assist. 

When it comes to this assistance there are several options available. Everything from eyeglasses to laser corrective surgery can all help with the focus issue and put the image where it needs to be. For the purpose of this discussion we will talk about contact lenses. Contact lenses sit directly onto the eye and offer a supplemental focusing device that may help get the image focused more sharply on the retina. A licensed optician trained in fitting contact lenses has the knowledge necessary to custom fit the lens properly to the patients eye, maintain the lens, look for areas of concern, and of course maximize vision to the best available. 

So let’s talk about risk of harm. Anytime your vision is altered, there is the possibility of risk of harm. There is risk of harm to others if you can’t see properly and hit them with your car and of course risk of harm to yourself if you can’t see properly and fall down the stairs. But that’s not really what we’re talking about in this instance, can the contact lens cause damage to your vision. The short answer is no. Wearing the wrong prescription can cause headaches and eye fatigue until the device is removed as the eyes struggle to compensate for the incorrect focus. But, no permanent damage will be done. Upon removal of the device, the ocular system should return to its normal state. I will add that contact lenses add an additional risk of harm to eyeglasses in that they can cause issues to ocular structure itself. Poor fitting contact lenses can cause abrasions to the cornea, can limit oxygen to the cornea, and leave the ocular surface susceptible to infection. All of these can have drastic and irreversible effects to the ocular surface and are the reason contact lenses should only be fit and maintained by a Licensed Optician or Optometrist. 

Risk of harm for contact lenses comes from the inherent risks of placing a foreign object in your eye. If your contact lenses are well fit by a licensed optician who confirms the visual acuity achieved with them is the best it can be, then contact lenses are an excellent option for those who don’t wish to wear glasses all the time. 

Derick Summers
R.O Freelance Optician and Trainer