contactlensA new survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and recently (August 21, 2015) published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Report shows that nearly “everyone is guilty of breaking the rules when it comes to contact lens care.” The survey conducted among contact lens wearers showed that “99% of those surveyed are at risk for serious eye infections because of poor hygienic behaviors.”

Nearly 1/3 of those surveyed reported they had to go to a doctor for red or painful eyes, and half or more reported they slept or napped while wearing lenses. The survey does not seem to distinguish between those who are in contact lenses that are FDA-approved to sleep in. Additionally, 55% “said they topped off the solution instead of changing it and rinsing off the case.” 80% of respondents “admitted keeping their contact lens cases longer than recommended.” According to the CDC, all of these practices increase the risk of eye infections by five times or more.

It is important for patients to know if their contact lenses are approved for overnight wear; the vast majority so approved are for a maximum of one week (excluding the Night & Day and PureVision lenses). Solution should be changed completely every day – once lenses are inserted the tops should be left off the case so that it can air-dry. The case should be cleaned weekly, and we recommend running it through a dishwasher cycle. Finally, lens replacement schedules should be carefully followed, whether wearing a One Day, Two Week, or Monthly disposable lens.

Sources: American Optometric Association, USA Today, NBC News, HealthDay