Majority of Eye Contact Wearers at Risk of Infection

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( — October 30, 2017) — For many visually-impaired individuals, contact lenses are a great option over eyeglasses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 46 million people in the United States wear contact lenses daily. Although contact lenses provide a myriad of advantages, one disadvantage they have is that they can predispose wearers to eye infections.

When you wear contact lenses in Winnipeg, there are many reasons that your risk of eye infection increases. The most common reasons for eye infections with contact lenses are wearing them while you sleep, not cleaning them properly, wearing them while swimming or during water activities, or wearing the same pair for too long.

A new study published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly produced by the CDC concluded that as many as 80% of all people who wear contact lenses admitted to engaging in one or more behaviors that are likely to lead to eye infection. Those who are at the highest risk are adolescents and older adults. October is Contact Lens Safety Awareness month, so efforts are in place to target those who may be underestimating the importance of contact lens safety and engaging in poor habits.

Another concern is the newest fad around the globe: colored novelty contacts. Without truly understanding the harm that they can potentially cause, consumers don’t seem to be taking wearing them very seriously nor concerned about the consequences of wearing ones that aren’t certified or FDA-approved. The lenses are a great novelty to enhance costumes or for changing your look, but just because they are being sold online or in retail establishments does not automatically make them safe for people to wear.

If you are going to wear either regular or cosmetic contact lenses, then it is imperative for your eye health that you purchase them through an eye doctor and ensure that they are safe for use. Also, if you are someone who doesn’t normally wear contact lenses, then it is critical that you know how to care for both your eyes and the lenses themselves to prevent infections.

One of the best ways to prevent eye infections from contact lenses is to identify the early symptoms of an eye infection before it has a chance to become more serious. If you have any of the following symptoms, seek the help of an eye care specialist immediately:

  • Visual changes

  • Watery eyes

  • Redness or discharge from your eyes

  • Discomfort or pain that you can’t explain

How to prevent eye infections from contact lenses

Prevention is the best safety measure when it comes to eye infections caused by contact lenses. If you follow the instructions of care, then the chances of your contacts ever leading to illness are greatly diminished.

  1. Always wash your hands before you touch your contact lenses with mild soap. Don’t use any lotions or heavy perfumes; they can be transferred onto your contact lenses and lead to eye irritation.

  2. If you wear contact lenses, try to keep your fingernails short to minimize the risk of minor eye scratches.

  3. Make sure to insert the contacts the right way by ensuring that if you place it on the tip of your finger, it forms the shape of a “U.”

  4. Wait until after your contact lenses are in before you apply makeup.

  5. Always use the proper solution to clean your contacts.

  6. Never use tap water to clean contact lenses. Tap water is riddled with different types of bacteria that can cause an eye infection.

  7. Rub your contact lenses in between your fingers when cleaning them to make sure to remove any unseen “debris” on the surface to prevent the lens from scratching your eye.

  8. Do not ever rinse your contact lenses by placing them in your mouth.

  9. If you do develop an infection, make sure to throw out the lenses and replace them with new ones.

  10. Don’t sleep with your lenses in unless you own extended-wear contact lenses.

  11. Always remove your contact lenses before you engage in watersports or activities.

  12. If you feel any eye irritation, don’t ignore it; it is your eyes telling you that something is wrong.

Contact lenses are an excellent alternative to glasses for some people. As long as you follow the instructions for care and take good care of them, there should be very little risk of eye infection.