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Can one wear contact lenses day and night?

Q: I am have myopia with a power of 2.50. I have been using contact lenses for the past one year now. I have been too lazy to remove the lenses since the last 4 months and have been wearing it all day long and at night too without taking them off. However, last month I removed the left lens as it had become red and tried putting it back but it started to itch and burn, hence removed it again. Since then I have been wearing only the left lens for the last one month. Would this affect my eyes further, also what would be the consequence of my extended use? I have some occasional redness and itching.

A:This is a very bad idea to wear contact lenses (CL) day and night. I want you to know that because Cornea(front part of the eye) is transparent and has not got any blood vessels to supply oxygen and nutrition and remove carbon dioxide and other metabolic waste products, it takes oxygen and releases CO2 from atmosphere directly when the eyes are open and from lid blood vessels when the eyes are closed. When you put CL on the eyes this gas exchange is cut down by at least 50% even if it is gas permeable and high water content CL. The eye can tolerate this lack of gas exchange for few hours but if allowed to continue, it can cause corneal vascularisation and opacity thereby affecting the vision and/ or causing corneal ulcer due to infection and permanent loss of sight. Get your eyes checked by a specialist and never sleep with CL in your eyes. You can do it in case of emergency but remove it as soon as possible to enable the eye to breath directly from the atmosphere. I also occasionally advise it for girls about to get married in situations where it is considered unacceptable for girls to wear glasses otherwise marriage just cannot go ahead in India. More over your lens power is not too bad and you can see everything near without glasses or CL anyway.

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