Eye Ulcers, what are they? You know what, I was not fully aware of them until I was diagnosed with an eye ulcer myself a couple of weeks ago. Since then I have done some research to find out more about them. So it seems another term people may use is corneal ulcers. This blog post is based purely on my own experience and just something I want to share with you all.
I have been a part-time contact lens wearer for nearly 20 years (Yikes! really that long??) and I have never come across or heard of the term eye ulcers so when my optometrist told me two weeks ago, I was concerned. Prior to my appointment, my eyes were really dry. Well, that was the sensation I was feeling. I was not alarmed by it because I know I have naturally dry eyes. I simply started to use eye drops and stopped wearing contact lenses because I thought that was all my eyes needed.
After a week of what I thought was dry eyes, my appointment finally arrived. They asked me a load of questions before examining my eyes and it turned out I had an eye ulcer, plus I also had a lot of tiny little dots all around both of my eyes. At first my optometrist thought I had some sort of an allergic reaction to something foreign that went in my eyes but I really couldn’t think what that could be.
The end result of that appointment was that I need to use eye drops and stay well clear of contact lenses for one week. I ended up not wearing contact lenses for two weeks just incase. It doesn’t really bother me, I am spoilt for choice for glasses plus the UK weather isn’t really great for sunglasses at the moment.
I went back in for my check up recently and got the all clear but there is a scar on my right eye. Luckily this does not impact my vision, I do feel very lucky and grateful. Eye ulcers can lead to blindness or any damage caused by them can lead to blurry vision.
Possible causes of eye ulcers
So, after some research and thinking back to my contact lens routine, plus chatting to my optometrist, what do I think happened? Well… there are three possibilities.
One, I recently changed my shampoo and the foam from the shampoo did go into my eyes once which caused some stinging.
Two, I forgot how long I had my contact lens cleaning solution. I am a monthly wearer and I must admit, during lockdown I hardly touched my contact lenses which means I used less solution. Therefore that bottle I have could be over six months old. I forgot to write the date down. Normally, I go through them very quickly.
Three, I personally think this is the cause of it and I am a bit embarrassed to admit it to be honest. I forgot to change my contact lens case for three months. I am normally very good with that but where it had been lockdown and I haven’t touched them as much, I thought I could leave it a little longer. It feels wasteful to throw away a plastic case. As if we need more plastic being throw nowadays.
I feel number three was the cause of my eye ulcer. I feel like an absolute idiot and it just goes to show how important it is to really follow the contact lens care/hygiene instructions and DO NOT SLACK! I must admit, when I was younger at 18, I really didn’t take that much care with wearing contacts. Looking back, it is bloody amazing and lucky nothing seriously went wrong. Perhaps because I’ve not had any issues is why I got too cocky and too comfortable with it all. This has taught me a valuable lesson as I have always been scared by the idea of losing my vision. I want to watch my two daughters growing up, I want to see the sunset, see the rainbows and everything else this world has to offer.
Moving forwards, my optometrist suggested that I give dailies a go since I don’t wear contacts all the time and it will solve the problem of cleaning my lenses and changing the case. I totally get it, but personally, I cannot help but feel it is a little wasteful to throw away so many tiny plastic cases each time. I wonder if there are any eco-friendly content lens options?
I will give dailies a try and see how I get on, but readers… honestly, from this experience, please follow the hygiene routine and look after your vision, this had been a massive wake up call for me. This time I was lucky, but next time I may not be so lucky.