If you wear contact lenses, you know that finding a good brand is like finding gold. Many contacts cause dry eyes, lens spinning, or general irritation. Once you find that perfect pair, you become forever loyal. The patented Hyrda Clear Technology of Acuvue Oasys continuously remoisturizes your eyes throughout the day, staving off what you may have experienced as “dry eye.” So how could a contact lens such as Acuvue Oaysis Hydra Clear, which many users swear by, have allegedly caused irreparable eye damage, severe dry eye, and infection? In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigated many silicone hydragel lenses such as Acuvue Oasys Hydra Clear to determine their common problems. The answer involves the lenses' composition as much as it does your cleaning solution.
Don't Use Multipurpose Solution with Silicone Hydrogel Lenses
Many contact lens wearers use a multipurpose cleaning solution. It's efficient but can interact poorly with materials such as hydrogel, which have two layers to ensure moisture retention throughout the day. One layer stays clean, while the other doesn't. With bacteria trapped inside the lens, the contact lens and, ultimately, the eye become vulnerable to bacterial infections such as fusarium keratitis. This fungal infection can cause permanent corneal staining and make future contact use impossible. Why do only some patients get infected? Patient-based factors, such as topping off the contact lens case with cleaning solution or not washing your hands before applying the lenses to your eyes, further increase your chances of infection.
Another problem you may experience with Acuvue Oasys Hydraclear lenses occurs when the hydrogel chemicals mix with multipurpose solution to create a mixture that is highly toxic to the eye even without the presence of any bacteria.This dangerous composition reduces the naturally protective coating around your cornea and increases the effects of everyday eye irritants such as sunlight, water, and small particles. As the protective corneal layer erodes, you may even notice a decrease in your visual acuity.
Allergies to Materials
Most people don’t know all the components of their contact lenses. If you were allergic to silicone, you might expect your optometrist to prescribe a lens that was not silicone based. However, this is not always the case, and many patients with allergies or sensitivity to products such as silicone experience severe dry eye and extreme irritation and itching from their silicone-based lenses.
The maximum risk of corneal staining occurs between 2 to 4 hours after insertion while bacterial infection may take several weeks to incubate. The multiple complications associated with silicone hydrogel lenses have lead the investigative FDA panel to recommend that any patient using this type of lens schedule follow up visits with his optometrist. The first visit should occur just a few hours after inserting the lens while the second and third appointments should be spaced a few weeks apart. This will allow your doctor to identify any negative reactions your eyes may be exhibiting and proscribe appropriate treatment. Always see your optometrist if you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your eyes, as this may be a sign of something much more serious than general irritation.