The Right Way to Wear Contacts

Incorrect use of contact lenses was common and could pose eye health risks

(RxWiki News) The majority of people who wore contact lenses were not wearing or caring for them correctly, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Around 85 percent of adolescents, 81 percent of young adults and 87 percent of adults in this report who wore contact lenses reported having at least one habit that increased their risk of an eye infection.

Eye infections can lead to serious problems like blindness. Serious eye infections can be prevented through proper contact use.

“Contact lenses are a safe and effective way to correct your vision when they are worn and cared for as recommended,” said Dr. Jennifer Cope, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC’s Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch, in a press release. “However, adolescents and adults can improve the way they take care of their contact lenses to reduce their risk of serious eye infections.”

Adolescents reported several risky habits that can increase eye infection risk:

  • Not seeing an eye doctor at least once a year
  • Sleeping or napping in lenses
  • Swimming in lenses
  • Failing to replace lenses as often as prescribed
  • Failing to regularly replace storage cases

The most common risky habits included not visiting an eye doctor at least once a year, not replacing lenses as often as prescribed and not regularly replacing storage cases. Replacing your contact lens case regularly is important because germs and bacteria can gather on the case, which leads to complications and eye problems.

Other recommendations from the CDC included the following:

  • Don’t sleep or nap in contact lenses. Your risk of an eye infection increases by six to eight times when you sleep in contact lenses.
  • Don’t swim or shower in contact lenses. When swimming, germs in the water can stick to contact lenses and infect your eyes.
  • Properly clean your contact lenses.
  • Regularly visit an eye care provider.

The CDC encouraged parents to promote healthy contact lens habits at home so their children can carry these behaviors into adulthood.

Speak with your health care provider about how to keep your eyes safe.

This report was published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).