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24-hour lens wearers risk blindness.

WEARING contact lenses over-night increases the danger of serious eye disease alarmingly, a new study has found.

It heavily increases the risk of microbial keratitis, a devastating condition which can lead to permanent blindness through infection of the cornea.

Dutch researchers discovered people who wore soft contact lenses for more than 24 hours at a time were particularly in danger of the disease.

John Dart, of the Corneal & External Disease Service, at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, warned the lifting of restrictions on the use of the extended-wear lenses "may be premature".

He said in countries such as the UK and the Netherlands, there were about two million predominantly daily-wear users.

He claimed if half these contact lens users changed to extended-wear lenses, an increase of 165O cases of keratitis would be expected. He said: "With the associated follow-up visits, this increase will produce enough work to keep a small ophthalmic department busy for a year."

Mr Dart added: "Contact lenses are now accepted to be the main cause of microbial keratitis, and the risk of corneal infection among contact-lens users is about 80-fold that among healthy non-wearers.

"Use of extended-wear lenses increases this risk by another three-fold to eight-fold."
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Author:McLEAN, JIM
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 15, 1999
Words:199
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