Think you can skip the disinfecting solution and pop a contact lens in after dropping it on your bathroom counter? You may want to think again.
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that improperly wearing contact lenses and mishandling them can greatly increase a person’s risk for eye infections like keratitis. If not caught early, these infections can cause painful symptoms and could even lead to blindness.
About 38 million Americans wear contact lenses. And there are about 1 million visits to doctors and emergency rooms each year for eye infections. The experts say these infections can mostly be attributed to improper use of contact lenses.
Does this mean contact lens users should forego lenses in favor of frames? No. In order to avoid infection, the CDC advises contact lens wearers to heed warnings and follow a few basic hygiene guidelines when caring for their lenses. These tips should help keep infections at bay.
First make sure to always wash your hands before handling your contacts. Disinfect your lenses whenever you take them out and be sure to use the correct solution prescribed by your doctor. Also, it’s important to always use fresh solution. An April 2014 study found that some bacteria can live in solution for up to four hours. And needless to say, water or saliva are not substitutes for contact lens solution.
Other rules to follow include making sure to never sleep in your lenses and get checkups from your eye care provider at least once a year. Make sure to check in with your doctor or eye care provider any time you experience pain or blurriness, too.
Follow these precautions in order to keep your eyes clear and infection-free.