Tags: contact | lenses | eye | infections

Contact Lenses Eye Infections: Wearers Cause Million a Year

Image: Contact Lenses Eye Infections: Wearers Cause Million a Year
Young woman inserting contact lenses to eye. (Pavel Shlykov/dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 14 Nov 2014 07:00 AM

Contact lenses cause one million eye infections every year across the U.S., and in nearly all cases improper care is at fault, the Centers for Disease Control reported this week.

"Contact lenses can provide many benefits, but they are not risk-free – especially if contact lens wearers take shortcuts and don't take care of their contact lenses and supplies," Dr. Jennifer Cope, a CDC medical epidemiologist, said in a statement about the recent findings, according to CBS News.

Roughly 40 million Americans wear contact lenses, and the current rate of infection costs a total of $175 million a year. Most people are quickly cured of their infection, usually known as microbial keratitis, with simple antibiotics. But in some cases permanent damage – even blindness – can result from having bacteria, fungi, amebae, or viruses embedded in the eye.

In July, a Taiwanese woman left her contacts in for six months, and went blind from her infection.

The biggest risk factors include wearing contacts overnight, wearing contacts in or near water like showers and swimming pools, and not replacing them as directed.

"People who wear contact lenses over night are more than 20 times more likely to get Keratitis," said Cope. "Wearing contacts and not taking care of them properly is the single biggest risk factor for Keratitis."

Proper care includes a strict regimen of taking lenses out at least a few times a week to let the eye rest, changing cleaning solution out every day, and washing hands before handling.

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Contact lenses cause one million eye infections every year across the U.S., and in nearly all cases improper care is at fault, the Centers for Disease Control reported this week.
contact, lenses, eye, infections
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2014-00-14
Friday, 14 Nov 2014 07:00 AM
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