CDC: Majority of contact lens wearers ignore safety guidelines, risk infection

Almost everyone who wears contact lenses is taking part in risky eye care behaviors that could lead to infections, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 99 percent of respondents reported at least one risky behavior. 

The behaviors include: keeping lens cases longer than recommended, topping off solution and adding more solution to old solution, sleeping in contact lenses and not washing hands before taking contacts in and out. Each of these behaviors has been reported in previous studies to raise the risk of eye infections by five times or more.

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Nearly a third of contact lens wearers in the survey said they had gone to the doctor for red or painful eyes related to using contacts. 

To prevent eye infections when using contact lenses, wearers should:

  • Wash hands with soap and water and dry them well before touching contact lenses
  • Take contacts out before sleeping, showering or swimming
  • Replace contact lens cases with new solution as recommended and don't mix old solution with new
  • Replace lens case at least once every three months

It is also a good idea to take along a pair of glasses in case you have to remove your contacts.

An estimated 41 million Americans wear contact lenses.  

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