According to a recent report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the 41 million contact lens wearers nearly every one of them fails to maintain a proper hygiene when handling the lenses, thus, putting at risk their vision on the long run.
Lack of hygiene often leads to eye infections since harmful bacteria can reach the eyes and disturb an already fragile balance in the area. The CDC report also shows that about one-third of the U.S. contact lens wearers admitted that they went to a physician to get a treatment for their red or painful eyes.
More than 50 percent of them said that they routinely nap or even sleep with contact lenses on. Nearly 55 percent reported that they didn’t change the disinfecting solution and rinse the case every time they took off their lenses. Plus more than 60 percent said that they even went to the swimming pool and bathed with the lenses on.
CDC researchers are concerned because the worrisome data is linked to adult behavior. They believe that teenagers may be even more reckless when it comes to keep their lenses clean, which may have dreadful consequences later on.
And the findings are even more troublesome. The research team also found that one third of people wearing contact lenses said that they rinsed the lenses in regular water, while nearly 17 percent admitted they even stored the devices in water instead of solution.
More than 90 percent of study participants said that they had to rinse their lenses in tap water whenever those lenses became more rigid rather than getting rid of them. Researchers argued that tap water still contains millions of germs that can contaminate the lenses and lead to eye inflammation although it is safe for drinking. Only the special contact lens solution is sterile and has compounds that can neutralize those bacteria.
The CDC study involved about 1,000 U.S. contact lens wearers.
The report also reads that improper hygiene may not only lead to painful eye infections but it can also trigger long-term and even irreversible eyesight problems.
CDC also said that more than 1 million patients visit their doctors because of keratitis or other contact lens-related conditions every year. The overall health care costs for these visits are estimated at $175 million every year. Keratitis is an eye infection that occurs due to improper contact lens hygiene in more than 90 percent of cases, doctors explained.
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