Serious eye infections could happen to people who improperly care for their contact lenses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday.
According to a CDC report, 99 percent of all contact lens wearers engaged in at least one behavior that could put them at risk of an eye infection.
The CDC reported that roughly one-in-four eye infections caused by contacts were due to poor care.
“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.”
Although there is a risk associated with wearing contact lenses, officials from the CDC say it is safe to wear contacts.
“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.”
To avoid the infection, the CDC offers these three steps:
- 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.