Why do I have to go to the Doctor every year for new contacts?
Routine eye exams are necessary for the health of the eye, especially if you wear contact lenses. Contact lens Over Wear Syndrome can develop when a person disregards replacement recommendations, proper cleaning, and/or sleeps in the lenses. During this time, deposits may begin to accumulate on the surface of the lens, which can lead to a protein build up. Over time this continued non-compliance may result in hazy vision, discomfort or pain, or in more severe cases, oxygen deprivation. It is vital for the cornea to have access to oxygen in order for your vision to remain stable and your eyes to remain healthy. If oxygen deprivation to the cornea begins, new blood vessels may form; and when left uncontrolled it may lead to diminished or loss of vision. Contact lens over wear can also increase your risk of infection, scarring, corneal ulcerations and giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC). Although many of these conditions are treatable, some may lead to the inability to wear contacts. More serious situations such as, visual loss or permanent damage to the cornea can result. Due to the fact that contact lenses are worn directly on the eyes and present these potential risks, the FDA considers them a medical device and therefore sets regulations. Contact lens prescriptions expire after 1 year, just as many other medical prescriptions. Routine visits to the eye doctor are necessary to identify potential problems and maintain healthy eyes.