CDC survey shows many contact lens wearers report risky eye care behaviors

CDC and partners created Contact Lens Health Week in 2014 to promote healthy contact lens wear and care practices that can help prevent eye infections associated with improper contact lens use. Even though he couldn’t see out of his left eye, he never once thought that his contact lenses were responsible for his discomfort.

Nearly all of the 41 million estimated contact lens wearers in the United States may be engaging in at least one behavior known to increase their risk of eye infections, according to a report published today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A recent government study finds many wearers of contact lenses are not practicing safety precautions and are instead putting their eyes, and vision, at risk. Well, based on feedback from the survey, four out of five respondents reported wearing contact lenses longer than the recommended time. Fifty percent (50%) of the subjects surveyed by the CDC failed to replace their contacts as often as they should have, and 82 percent (82%) of the subjects surveyed by the CDC failed to replace their contact cases as often as they should have. Of those that purchase from their eye doctor, 51% reported regular replacement of cases, and 43% reported regularly washing their hands. This is also why contact lens solutions should never be used after the discard date on the bottle has passed. More than 87 percent of the survey’s respondents said they sometimes napped without removing their lenses, and half said they have slept overnight with the lenses still in. Furthermore, one-third of wearers have had medical attention for a contact lens related problem which could have been avoided if safety steps were followed.

But when a team of doctors from the Cincinnati Eye Institute finally got a look at Groeschen’s eyes, they diagnosed him with a bacterial infection that was attacking his cornea and quickly destroying it. As the eye’s protective outer layer started to go, so did his vision.

Chevalier says a couple of the other most common mistakes are keeping a case too long, which can lead to bacteria growth, and rinsing soft lens contacts out with tap water, which should always be done with the proper solution. If you don’t, bacteria can get into your lenses or lens solution, which can cause an eye infection.

Rub the lenses with your fingers and rinse thoroughly before soaking lenses overnight in sufficient multi-purpose solution to completely cover the lenses.

Always wash and dry hands before handling contact lenses.

Sleeping in your contacts can create micro-abrasions (little cuts) on your eye, Amir Azari, MD, a cornea surgeon at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, tells Yahoo Health.