The very thing that granted Chad Groeschen the ability to see is also responsible for his loss of vision.
Misled by the claims of the “Night and Day” contacts, which imply that the lenses can be worn while sleeping, the man from Cincinnati awoke with intense eye pain and a subsequent loss of eyesight.
Groeschen contracted a serious infection, possibly due to consistently sleeping with extended-wear lenses.
Currently in need of a cornea transplant, he urges individuals to prioritize rigorous hygiene to prevent encountering a similar ordeal.
Continue reading to understand the significance of removing your lenses prior to sleeping or taking a shower!
In the year 2015, Chad Groeschen awoke experiencing excruciating pain in his left eye, accompanied by a state of blindness in that eye.
“By midday, my eyes began to itch, and I assumed it was due to allergies, so I removed the contacts. The following morning, the sight in my left eye began to blur,” he recounted. He went on, “These contacts are referred to as ‘Night and Day’ contacts, and I believed they could be worn continuously for 30 days,” Groeschen informed USA Today. He clarified that he would take them out approximately once a week, stating, “I presumed that minimizing eye manipulation would be beneficial.”
However, the outcome was not as positive.
While the lenses are promoted as suitable for “continuous usage” lasting from one to four weeks, a 2013 study conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology reveals that wearing contact lenses overnight, irrespective of the lens type, raises the risk of corneal infections.
Upon visiting a specialist at the age of 39, Groeschen discovered that he had developed a corneal ulcer infected with Pseudomonas bacteria, believed to have been caused by wearing his extended-wear contact lenses while sleeping. Groeschen recounted that doctors informed him the contact lens essentially served as a breeding ground, harboring the bacteria that subsequently attacked his eye.
In a matter of days, Groeschen, employed as a sculptor at a renovation company, lost the ability to see with his left eye. Medical professionals informed him that he would probably require a corneal transplant to regain his vision.
Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that a significant portion of the approximately 41 million individuals who wear contact lenses in the nation engage in at least one hazardous behavior that jeopardizes their eyesight.
The identical research indicates that 82.3 percent of individuals retained their contact lenses beyond the advised duration, more than half refilled the solution instead of replacing it entirely, and half of them wore lenses while sleeping.
“Clear eyesight enhances the general health and self-sufficiency of individuals at any age, making it crucial to uphold proper practices in wearing and maintaining contact lenses,” states CDC Medical Epidemiologist Jennifer Cope, M.D., M.P.H. She further noted, “We are observing that a considerable number of wearers lack clarity on the correct methods for wearing and looking after contact lenses.”
Given that numerous individuals are exposing themselves to potential hazards through their eyewear practices, infections leading to often irreversible harm occur more frequently than some might realize.
The CDC reports that on average, one out of every 500 wearers of contact lenses experiences a severe eye infection annually, which has the potential to result in blindness.
Mike Krumholz, currently 22 years old, could face permanent blindness due to a 40-minute nap he took while wearing his daily disposable contacts in December 2022. Following the nap, he proceeded to shower, took out the contacts, and went to bed.
The following day, Krumholz awoke with an eye that felt itchy and had a buildup of discharge. He also noticed increased sensitivity to light. Similar to Groeschen’s experience, he initially thought it might be due to allergies, but the situation turned out to be much more serious.
Medical professionals clarified that the young baseball player from Florida had contracted a rare parasite known as Acanthamoeba keratitis, which has the potential to induce blindness. Krumholz shared that he was informed that even a brief period of sleeping with contacts might have allowed the minuscule Acanthamoeba organism to infiltrate the cornea.
Taking to Facebook to share his experience and aiming to alert others about the hazards of sleeping with contact lenses, Krumholz expresses, “I cannot fathom anything more excruciating than this level of pain. Powerful medications offer no relief. The most distressing aspect is that, at the age of merely 21, I am uncertain if my eye will ever regain its sight.” He goes on, “For over 30 days, I have been confined indoors, with hurricane shutters in place to shield me from light.”
Undergoing treatment for the parasite, Krumholz received information that the most optimistic outcome would involve being rid of the parasite by the latter part of summer 2023. At that point, he could undergo a corneal transplant to eliminate the infected portion of his eye.
“I understand that my vision will never fully recover, but the extent to which it will improve remains uncertain,” he remarked.
Preventive measures for eye infections (CDC):
- Thoroughly wash hands with soap and water, and ensure they are dry before handling contact lenses.
- Remove contact lenses before sleeping, taking a shower, or going swimming.
- Gently rub and rinse contacts using disinfecting solution every time they are removed.
- Clean the contact lens case by rubbing and rinsing it with lens solution, then dry with a clean tissue. Store the case upside down with the caps off after each use.
- Replace contact lens cases at least once every three months.
- Refrain from “topping off” the lens case solution by adding fresh solution to old solution.
- Carry a spare pair of glasses in case contact lenses need to be removed.
In the meantime, Koerschner gives this caution: “In case of any eye issues, promptly consult an expert and consistently uphold excellent eye hygiene.”
Remember to maintain proper eye hygiene at all times! We recognize that it might seem unnecessary, but we assure you that the effort will prove worthwhile.
Spread this story to inform others about the risks associated with sleeping in contact lenses, as well as other unsafe habits that can lead to vision loss!