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Be sure your contacts are properly fitted

Researchers found that contact lens wearers may be 9 times more likely to develop ulcers of the cornea than those who do not wear contacts. The cornea is the clear front layer of the eye. Viral or bacterial infections can cause the open sores which are known as corneal ulcers. The result of such ulcers can be severe pain and redness, and potentially permanent vision loss. Over a million patients were studied and information was collected on the presence of corneal ulcers along with contact lens use, eye trauma or disease and HIV status. Contact lens wearers only accounted for 12 percent of the patients in the study but more than half were diagnosed with corneal ulcers. The increase in corneal ulcers is being attributed to the increased availability of disposable and overnight contact lenses. All contact lenses reduce oxygen transmission to the cornea. Since a normal cornea has no blood vessels to bring oxygen, it depends on getting oxygen directly from the surrounding air. If you wear contact lenses, they need to be properly fitted by an eye care professional. And regular follow-up care is very important. In most states, it is illegal for a contact lens retailer to mail you new contact lenses without a prescription that it updated on a yearly basis. Although widely ignored by Internet contact lens companies, the law exists to ensure people are getting annual eye exams.* Andrea Schumann Staff Writer

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