Contact Lenses (cont.)
What Are Medical Treatments for Contact Lens Problems?
Treatment of contact-lens problems ranges from not wearing your contact lenses for a short time to intensive antibiotic treatment of infections. You may have to wear your glasses for a variable period of time. After the condition is cleared, you might have to be refit with new or different lenses.
If only one eye is affected, you may be advised to discontinue the contact lens in the other eye, as some infections may spread into the uninvolved eye. If the lens is worn out or torn, it must be replaced. With frequent replacement lens wear, you usually have extra lenses at home and can easily replace the lens yourself.
- If a solution incompatibility is suspected, solutions and the care regimen are evaluated, and you may be required to change solutions.
- If the lens is not fitting well, wear of that lens is discontinued. It may be necessary to refit you with new lenses of the same or different material, which may be better tolerated or may provide better vision.
- With infections, antibiotic eyedrops are used. Pills are rarely used because eyedrops are usually more effective.
- Your eye doctor chooses the eyedrop that is most effective for the particular infection. Eyedrops may need to be used every hour. You might have to be seen every day with more serious infections.
- With corneal infections, a culture of the infection may be taken to help determine the most effective antibiotic eyedrop. (See figure.)
- Once the infection is under control, the most superficial layer of the cornea (epithelium) needs to heal. During this time, you may be prescribed a soft contact lens to be used as a bandage, referred to as a bandage contact lens. This can help heal the epithelium and lessen discomfort.
- On rare occasions, surgical management of the infection may be necessary. Ultimately, if more conservative treatment is not successful, antibiotic injections into the eye or even a corneal transplant may be necessary.
Picture of common culture media for corneal infections. Photo courtesy of Michelle Rhee, MD.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/1/2016
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