Corneal Hypoxia is a condition where the corneas are deprived of the amount of oxygen they need. The cornea doesn’t have its own blood supply so the only way for it to get oxygen are through tears and directly from the atmosphere. This is commonly associated with people who wear contact lenses for prolonged periods of time, such as when users forget to remove them at night. Contact lenses literally cover the eyes and reduces the amount of oxygen the corneas get.
Why is this a problem?
Well, corneal hypoxia can cause temporary blurred vision and in severe cases can lead to epithelial cell death. Users who often over-wear their lenses might also suffer from epithelial microcysts which produce a slight decrease in vision. If not averted, corneas can also swell and might force the user to ask for a different prescription. Worst cases can cause neovascularization, or when the eyes bulge some of its veins in order to cope with the lack of oxygen around the cornea.
Signs of Corneal Hypoxia
Here are some symptoms of Corneal Hypoxia
- Engorged blood vessels.
- Lots of tears or continuous tearing.
- Light sensitivity.
- Intolerance to contacts.
You may have one or all of the symptoms above and it could still be another issue. It’s best to consult with your eye doctor to know for sure before self-medicating.
3 Easy Ways to Treat Corneal Hypoxia
- Be more accountable. Removing your contacts when you don’t need them anymore is the first and likely only solution you need to prevent corneal hypoxia from happening. Keep a list, set an alarm or reminder, or have a friend remind you if you’re not really good with remembering things.
- Oxygen-permeable contact lenses. These special lenses allow more air to pass through the eyes. While they are a quick fix on their own, some users find these lenses uncomfortable and may take longer than normal to get used to.
- Use eye supplements. Special eye supplements like ialutec® and ialutec® RED are capable of keeping your eyes healthy and functioning optimally. It’s because they are made with 100% pure hyaluronic acid, a compound that lubricates the eyes and offers a lot of long term health benefits.
- Ang JH, Efron N. Corneal hypoxia and hypercapnia during contact lens wear. Optom Vis Sci. 1990;67(7):512-21.
- Compañ V, Garrido J, Manzanares JA, Andrés J, Esteve JS, López ML. True and apparent oxygen permeabilities of contact lenses. Optom Vis Sci. 1992;69(9):685-90.