The agency also disclosed that there are nearly 41 million contact lens wearers in the U.S.A. and nearly every single one fails to properly keep and clean the soft devices.
The reasons are multiple but all revolve around users failing to comply with the contact lens manufacturer’s instructions including those related to not sleeping or bathing with the lenses on, or those that require using a special solution to clean and preserve the lenses rather than keeping them in tap water.
And there is even a price to pay for carelessness – annually, more than one million Americans visit their doctors because of red or painful eyes which may later lead to dreadful consequences.
CDC researchers found that half of users admitted to sleeping with the lenses on. That included short naps, too. Additionally, more than a half said that they used to reuse solution rather than recharging the case and wash it every time they took off their lenses. Plus, 61 percent reported that they bathed or swam without first taking the lenses off.
Since the study involved only U.S. adults, the CDC panel fears that teenagers may be even more reckless in keeping their contact lenses germ-free.
The report also revealed that more than 33 percent of wearers routinely rinsed their contact lenses in drinking water rather than immerse them in solution. What’s more, over 16 percent recalled they sometimes stored their lenses in tap water.
The majority of wearers said that they at some point used water to rinse their lenses that hardened or became more rigid. Scientist explained that tap water is treated only for the germs that are hazardous to health when drinking. Eyes are a more delicate environment so even the less harmful bacteria can damage them.
In other words, tap water is not sterile. Contact lens solutions are and they should be used according to instructions. And make sure you throw them away as soon as they expire.
The recent study involved nearly 1,000 participants.
CDC doctors admitted that contact lenses are increasingly popular nowadays, yet lack of hygiene may lead to serious eye infections and in severe cases even eyesight problems. On the other hand, if you feel your eyes itchy or in pain, you should go see a doctor.
The agency also said that nearly a million GP visits are linked to either eye infections or other conditions triggered by improper contact lens use. Those visits and treatments prescribed translate into $175 million losses every year.
Image Source: Cooper Vision