Hypoxia occurs when the
cornea does not get enough oxygen. It is the most
common complication of contact lens wear, especially extended-wear
The cornea has no blood supply of its own, so it gets oxygen only
from tears and directly from the atmosphere. A contact lens reduces the oxygen
supply to the cornea, making the cornea swell. Wearing contacts overnight
further decreases the amount of oxygen that gets to the cornea.
It's important to keep in mind that most people with open-angle glaucoma, the most common type, have no symptoms until they have lost a significant amount of vision.
The condition can be prevented, but once vision is lost, it is irreversible. That is why it's very important to get regular exams with an eye doctor, particularly if there is a family history of glaucoma.
Symptoms of glaucoma vary, depending on its type.
Gas-permeable hard contact lenses have almost eliminated some
problems, such as overwearing syndrome and corneal clouding. Problems that still occur include hazy vision caused by mild corneal swelling
(edema) or warping. Over time, corneal hypoxia may cause serious problems with
Primary Medical Reviewer
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
June 24, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
June 24, 2011
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