An optometrist has called on flight crews to avoid wearing soft contact lenses for long periods of time, warning that the lenses can cut off the oxygen supply to the cornea and could affect sight, even causing blindness in serious cases.
Lin Hung-yuan (林鴻源) said his clinic in Taoyuan’s Jhongli District (中壢) had a case where a flight attendant had to wear contact lenses at her employer’s insistence.
The flight attendant said that her work hours were long — the company required her to arrive at the airport at least three hours in advance of the flight to prepare makeup and attend meetings — and she would often wear contact lenses for more than 20 hours.
She complained that she needed to use eye drops to soothe her sore eyes during work and that they were often bloodshot after she clocked out.
Lin said soft contact lenses usually cause dryness of the eyes as they soak up tears, adding that they also limit the amount of oxygen reaching the eyes.
The cornea does not have blood vessels and is reliant on oxygen through direct exposure, Lin said, adding that a bloodshot cornea is due to a lack of oxygen.
Lin said that bloodshot eyes severely affect vision and recommended that people who wear lenses for a long time should choose hard lenses, which allow more oxygen to pass through.
Lin said that no matter the length of time worn, lenses and their cleaning affect the health of the wearer’s eyes and he urged people not to buy lenses without a prescription from an optometrist.
Lin also called for contact lens wearers to monitor their tears and suggested that lenses should not be worn for more than six hours at a time.
Most importantly, contact lenses should not be worn while sleeping, Lin said.
The proper cleaning of contact lenses is also very important, he said.
Lin urged people who have with dry and bloodshot eyes to refrain from purchasing artificial tear drops from pharmacies, adding that the solutions contain preservatives that could increase the damage being done to the eyes.
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