Hello and thanks for your question. Your story sounds quite classic for inflammation in your eyelids and consequently your cornea which is caused by bacteria in your tear film and exacerbated by your contact lens use. To have inflammation in the eyelids and bacteria in your tear film is very common. Some people can get the type of inflammation that it sounds like you have without using contact lenses at all, but wearing the contact lenses just exacerbates the situation.
The contact lens keeps oxygen from getting to the cornea and the cornea then starts to have inflammation and possibly even an infection. If you are wearing the same type of contact lens for many years, it is likely that you have a contact lens that doesn't have a very high oxygen permeability to it (unlike some of the newer contact lenses on the market). If there is no infection, and only inflammation related to contact lens use, then staying out of the contacts for several days, combined with the use of a combination antibiotic/steroid drop use would be a reasonable treatment regimen. If this inflammation is from a relative lack of oxygen from your current, but older brand of contact lenses, then you would probably do well to get an updated prescription for one of the newer contact lenses that let more oxygen in. That would allow you to stay in your contact lenses as you currently do with less chance of inflammation.
There are a good many optometrists who would catch this, but there are just as many who would not because they routinely deal less with the medical diseases of the eye than an ophthalmologist does. I would recommend going to see an ophthalmologist who can diagnose the particular type of inflammation occurring in your eyes; I would not return to an optometrist for this.
Does this information help address your concerns? Does this make sense? Do you have any other concerns that I haven't addressed?
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Yes, this can still be going on after 2.5 weeks not in contacts. This inflammation can last for weeks to months if not treated correctly. Also, unless it was a fulminant, active infectious ulcer (which even most optometrists should be able to distinguish), it would not be an ongoing source of bacteria. The problem is the body's response to bacteria--this is what causes the symptoms and it's difficult to control that response, sometimes, unless steroids are used and bacteria is killed.
Acuvue Oasys generally is pretty good as far as oxygen permeability but it may be that it's not permeable enough for you. I would recommend considering changing to a newer brand that has an even higher oxygen permeability. Also, in case you are not following this contact lens hygiene, I will tell you that you shouldn't sleep in contact lenses, ever, even though some labels on the lenses tell you that you can. Lastly, it may also be that your eyes cannot tolerate the # of hours per day that you are using contact lenses, and you may need to cut down on the # of hours per day you wear them. I would start with the visit to the ophthalmologist's office to get the right treatment, then go to the new kind of contact lenses and if that doesn't work you should consider cutting down how much you wear the lenses.
Does that make sense?