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Jan 5, 2012

Healthy Living improves its vision

Contacts are thin corrective plastic lenses that cover the cornea of the eye to remedy most of the common vision disorders. With technology, even Bi focal & multifocal lens are available. Though complications aren’t common, the misuse of contacts has side effects. Healthy living looks at the do’s & don’ts of contact Lenses.

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

It’s easy to understand why some people choose contact lens over glasses. Given the option to ditch thicker lenses for the equally effective and invisible contacts is a simple decision. But are people using their contact lens properly? Studies in United States show that a very small percentage of users are fully compliant with recommended hygiene practices. So we asked Belizean ophthalmologist, Dr Amin Hegar to discuss the do’s & don’ts of contact lens. He first started with who is best fit to wear them.

Dr. Amin Hegar, Ophthalmologist

Amin Hegar

“As a rule we have four D’s not to wear contact lenses: Dry Eyes; people with extreme dry eyes should not wear contact lenses. Not that they shouldn’t wear it at all, but if they have mild to moderate dry eyes they have to use artificial tears or drops when wearing the contact lenses. The other D is Dirty; who doesn’t clean his hands, works in a farm—they are more prone to infection. Then another one is a person that Drinks a lot; the other D. he will be more prone to have complications, ulcers. And the other D, I don’t want to say the word; is for Dumb. If you’re not too intelligent and skillful, you won’t be able to put it and you’ll have comp0lications and tear the lenses. Excuse the word for dumb but just to remember loosely.”

Dr. Hegar uses this playful classification to demonstrate the need for special care when it comes to contact usage. Even children, who are mature & skillful enough, have become regular users. However, persons with glaucoma, cataract, pterygiums or any other eye diseases are not good candidates. This is one of the reasons why an eye examination is important.

Dr. Amin Hegar

“You should have an eye exam to see the condition, the health of your eyes before you start to wear the contact lenses. They have to know what type of contact they are wearing. For example we have the ones I sell here—these are the most sellable ones—not only in Belize but the U.S., the acuvue is the most sellable ones. The acuvue 2; the company recommends for midnight and two weeks, but most of my patients use it for a month and they shouldn’t sleep with it, but most of them sleep with it.”

The most common negligent practice: not following the recommended wearing schedule.

Dr. Amin Hegar

“The more you use something, the more it has wear and tears and the contact lens can be torn after so much use. They can be deposits and that is where complications start with the changes of creating the cornea ulcers; something you want to protect and sometimes it’s just conjunctivitis, a bacterial infection of the eyes and that is also curable. These ones that are not for extended wear and not oxygen permeable. So the cornea needs be wet, lubricated and then the cornea will dry and when it dries it can damage the superficial layer of the cornea.  And you can have an abrasion. You take out the contact the next day and you have an abrasion of the cornea and that’s painful.”

The other problem that is all too common is lack of proper hygiene.

Dr. Amin Hegar

“To avoid all complications, cleanliness and good care of the contact lenses; changing the solutions every day, changing the case. The little storing case is not forever, after six months one year, they develop debris and the growth of fungus. And even with the solution, it doesn’t lube it properly so it is best to throw it away and get a new one. The contact lens if there is discomfort while using it then it could be dry and then you use artificial tears and lubricating drops. Most people do well. The dirty contact lens, the deposits, you would cause abrasion to the cornea or prolonged use due to not discarding it then it starts to form an ulcer. When the cornea ulcer develops leave a terrible scar on the cornea depending on where it cuts. If it’s in the middle of the cornea, you will need cornea transplant.”

Dr. Hegar says that he does not see these complications very often. He attributes this to the improvement of the lenses, better solutions; even antibiotics have helped to deter major complications.  As for colored contacts, the same rules apply.

Dr. Amin Hegar

“The dangers are the same like for the therapeutic ones and those for prescription. We also have cosmetic contact lenses, the colored ones. We have topaz, we have blue, we have green, hazel. Lots of young patients or people in Belize come and buy them. You just take the same precautions.”

The doctor’s main advice is to pay attention to your eyes and act accordingly.

Dr. Amin Hegar

“Remember if you have pain, itching or red eyes, then don’t use it. Just come in and consult.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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