In an effort to promote contact lens and eye health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did a report based on a nationwide survey of 1,000 contact wearers. CDC discovered that 99 percent of them ignore hygiene rules adopting behaviors that could lead them even to blindness.
CONTACT LENS RISKS IN NUMBERS
Almost 85% of contact lens wearers say that they have showered with their lenses in while 61% have gone swimming wearing them. Health officials have always been suggesting that lenses should not come in contact with water and that even swim goggles are not a healthy solution.
Users’ cleaning habits are not better with 55% of them sometimes “topping off” their lens case with a more disinfecting solution. The official recommendation says that all contact lens users have to empty the case and then clean in before filling with fresh solution.
Almost two-thirds of the surveyed sample had rinsed their contact lenses using tap water, which is a potentially risky move. As the report says, household tap water may be safe for drinking, but it is not sterile and the microorganisms contained in it can cause eye infections:
“Household tap water, although treated to be safe for drinking, is not sterile and contains microorganisms that can contaminate lens cases and contact lenses and cause eye infections,” the report says.
Over half said that they had slept overnight with their lenses in and more than 87% admitted they had fallen asleep in their contacts at some point, making napping the most common offense. While certain contact lenses are FDA approved for overnight wear, the CDC says that “sleeping in any type of lens can increase the risk of eye infections.”
Jennifer Cope, the lead author of the study, CDC medical epidemiologist said in a statement that healthy contact lens wear and care is extremely important and that many users do not have a clear idea about their proper use:
“Good vision contributes to overall well-being and independence for people of all ages, so it’s important not to cut corners on healthy contact lens wear and care. We are finding that many wearers are unclear about how to properly wear and care for contact lenses.”
THE RIGHT USE OF CONTACT LENS
The report of CDC comes with tips, to help reduce the risk of eye irritation or infections:
– Users should never sleep with their contact lenses in unless an eye care provider advises them to do so.
– All water must be kept away from contact lenses. Do not shower while wearing them and remove them before swimming or using a hot tub. Never wash or store your contact lenses in water.
– Contact lenses must be replaced as often as recommended by your eye care provider.
– Before putting their contact lenses in the case, users should clean it using fresh solution and never water.
– Store contact lens case upside down with the caps off after each use.
– The contact lens must be replaced, at leas, once every 3 months.
– Visit an eye care provider as often as recommended by your primary health care provider.
– If experiencing eye pain, blurred vision, redness or discomfort, remove the contact lenses immediately and call an eye care provider.