Contact lens wearers are putting themselves at risk of eye infections after neglecting basic hygiene rules.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US – the highest authority in terms of Health prevention and Safety – recently found that the majority of contact lens wearers are putting their eye health at risk.
A recent study found that 82% of people surveyed keep their contact lenses in for longer than recommended. Meanwhile, half of them reported to have slept with their lenses on. This behaviour can raise the risk of eye infections by five times.
“We are finding that many wearers have little ideas on how to properly wear and care for contact lenses.” Doctors of CDC say.
Worryingly, those who shower or swim with contact lenses in are at risk of going blind.
Dr. Badalà, in a recent debate on the topic, pointed out that: “Especially in the summer, because of the heat and different life habits, the risk of eye infections is higher. A serious risk is Acanthamoeba, a parasite that is found in water sources. Contact lenses should not be worn whilst showering or swimming and definitely should not be soaked in water.
“The parasite can gain entry to the eye which can lead to blindness if not treated quickly or effectively”.
“The safest type of contact lenses to wear are daily disposable contact lenses as they are the lowest risk of infection as it is more hygienic to replace it daily.”
“Always keep the cover on the case to avoid bacteria entering the solution and give them a good overnight soak – not just a couple of hours. This is to ensure any bacteria is killed. It’s also very important for wearers not to sleep with them in unless they are designed for this purpose, and not to over-wear them.”
Moreover, contact lens, leaning on the cornea, reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches the cornea itself. Consequently, an over-use of contact lens causes the formation of blood vessels at the periphery of the cornea, that try to compensate for the lack of oxygen meanwhile resulting in cyclic eye inflammations.
According to the CDC, contact lens wearers can prevent eye infections by following seven simple rules:
- Wash hands with soap and water and dry them well before touching contact lenses
- Take contacts out before sleeping, showering or swimming
- Rub and rinse contacts in disinfecting solution each time they remove them
- Rub and rinse the case with contact lens solution, dry with a clean tissue and store it upside down with the caps off after each use
- Replace contact lens cases at least once every three months
- Avoid “topping off” solution in lens case adding fresh solution to old solution
- Carry a backup pair of glasses in case contact lenses have to be taken out
Those who regularly wear contact lens should have regular eye exams to check if contacts lens are used correctly or if they are damaging their eye health.