Infection due to contact lens wear is the most severe, and most common complication of contact lens wear. It can cause permanent sight loss due to corneal scarring.
- Overnight soft contact lens wear carries the highest risk of severe infection.
- Of the soft contact lenses, daily disposable contact lenses are the safest. Fortnightly and monthly contact lenses can be associated with severe infection (Pseudomonas, Fusarium) due to bacteria and fungi growing in the contact lens case or solution.
- Rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses are the safest of all contact lenses, in terms of infection risk.
- Acanthamoeba is a serious and difficult to treat infection which occurs in people who swim or shower whilst wearing contact lenses.
- Any contact lens wearer with a red eye that does not resolve 24 hours after removing the lens should be treated with intensive quinolone antibiotic (e.g. Levofloxacin, Moxifloxacin, Ofloxacin) for at least 3 to 5 days, and must be closely followed up.
- Herpes corneal infection can occur during contact lens wear, but no association has been found between the two. Always suspect Acanthamoeba infection in a contact lens wearer who appears to have a dendritic-type ulcer.
- Adenoviral corneal infection can occur during contact lens wear. Discard the contact lens and wait until the infection has fully resolved before resuming contact lens wear.