(WWBT) - The Centers for Disease Control warns contact lens users could be putting themselves at risk for serious eye infections due to improper care of their lenses.
According to the CDC in a statement Thursday, nearly one in five contact lens-related eye infections reported to a federal database involved a patient who experienced eye damage.
Those infections included patients who had a scarred cornea, needed a corneal transplant, or otherwise suffered a reduction in vision.
"Contact lenses are a safe and effective form of vision correction when worn and cared for as recommended," said Michael Beach, Ph.D., director of CDC's Healthy Water Program. "However, improper wear and care of contact lenses can cause eye infections that sometimes lead to serious, long-term damage."
The CDC's report comes just in time for Contact Lens Health Week, which runs August 22-26 and promotes healthy wear and care practices that can help contact lens wears reduce their chances of getting an eye infection.
"Around 41 million people in the United States wear contact lenses and benefit from the improved vision and comfort they provide," said Jennifer Cope, M.D., M.P.H., medical epidemiologist in CDC's Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch. "While people who get serious eye infections represent a small percentage of those who wear contacts, they serve as a reminder for all contact lens wearers to take simple steps to prevent infections."
The CDC recommends taking these steps to avoid infection:
- Don’t sleep in contact lenses without discussing with your eye doctor. Sleeping in contact lenses increases the chance of an eye infection by 6 to 8 times.
- Don’t top off, or add new contact lens solution to old solution that has been sitting in the case. Adding new solution to used solution can lower germ-killing power.
- Replace your contact lenses as often as recommended by your eye doctor. People who do not replace their lenses as often as recommended have more complications and report more eye problems than those who follow the replacement recommendations.
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