It's common for those new to wearing contact lenses to be worried when their lenses become cloudy. However, the issue is actually pretty common. Contacts become cloudy for several different reasons. Fortunately, the explanation is typically simple and easy to fix.
One of the more common reasons for contact lenses to become cloudy is due to the buildup of protein deposits on the lens surface. Your eyes produce tears to keep your eyes clean. This way, your vision doesn't become blurry. When you wear contacts, the natural cleaning process is affected, and debris, proteins, and oils that your tears normally flush out of your eyes attach to your contact lenses. Eventually, the buildup creates a thin film that makes your contacts cloudy.
To avoid a buildup of protein deposits clouding your vision, you need to clean your contact lenses regularly. Some contact lenses may not require daily cleaning. However, if you're having problems with blurry vision regularly, you should clean your contact lenses each day so that the lenses don't accumulate more than one day's worth of a protein deposit buildup at any given time.
When people have dry eyes, oils, protein deposits, and outside contaminants aren't completely washed away, which creates a buildup over your contact lenses that makes them cloudy. It's common for people who work with computers for extended periods of time to have this problem because they stare at the computer screen for a long time without blinking. However, dry eyes are also often a problem for people who are over age 65 and those who have specific medical conditions, such as thyroid problems, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis. It also is experienced by those with decreased tear production or whose tears evaporate quickly. In addition, dry eyes can be caused by menopause, hormonal changes, and taking certain medications for blood pressure or congestion.
In order to keep the dryness of your eyes from affecting your contact lenses, you need to:
- Stay hydrated by drinking eight to 10 glasses of water per day.
- Use over-the-counter artificial tears as needed.
- Remind yourself to blink when you're working at the computer, watching television, or playing video games for a long period of time.
Unfortunately, contacts aren't designed to be worn for extremely long periods of time. They eventually begin to deteriorate, which can blur your vision. You need to replace your contact lenses according to the manufacturer's instructions. Depending on the type of contact lenses you wear, this could mean replacing the contacts with a new pair on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Regardless, of the amount of time indicated by the manufacturer, if you've worn your contacts without replacing them for a long time and they have become cloudy and/or uncomfortable, chances are you need a new pair. If you aren't sure how often you should be replacing your contact lenses, you should clarify the replacement process with your eye doctor.
Remember, it's common for contact lenses to become cloudy. So, there's no reason to panic if it happens to you. Instead, try using over-the-counter rewetting drops to rewet your eyes or take a minute to clean your contacts to see if the problem is resolved. If rewetting your eyes and cleaning your lenses doesn't help, it's probably just time for a new pair of contacts. For more information about contact lenses, consider contacting professionals like those at A New Vision.