How To Prevent Contact Lens-Related Eye Infection & Long-Term Damages

Contact lenses greatly help in correcting vision in a safe and efficient manner. Improper use of contact lenses, however, can result in serious eye infections and long-term damages.

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last week found that one in five contact lens-related eye infections in the United States ended up damaging the eyes. Between 2005 and 2015, 1,075 contact lens-related infections occurred with injuries ranging from a scarred cornea, poorer vision, and requiring a corneal transplant.

Over 10 percent of the contact lens-related infections had to undergo emergency care in the hospital or in urgent care clinics. The report's researchers said the smallest of eye damages can be a significant disturbance in a person's life. Some cases required patients to visit an eye doctor every day or administer eye drops on their infected eye each hour.

Federal health officials said around 41 million people in the U.S. use contact lenses as an alternative to prescription glasses, ABC's First Coast News reported. Researchers in CDC's report also found that eye infection and damages can be easily avoided if patients were more proactive in caring for their contact lenses, such as removing the medical devices before sleeping. Some patients also wear contact lenses longer than the recommended amount of time.

The American Optometric Association, or AOA, advised people who often wear contact lenses to visit an eye doctor annually for proper evaluation of their vision and overall eye health. People should also purchase contact lenses from reliable sellers like those approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Make sure to stay away from online contact lens retailers. These online stores aren't capable of physically determining a person's exact prescription and they could ship wrong ones. Ill-fitted contact lenses can lead to irreversible loss of vision.

Other tips from AOA to prevent contact lens-related eye infection and damages are: refrain from sharing contact lenses with others; avoiding tap water to clean lenses and only clean them using contact lens solutions; maintaining the cleanliness of your contact lens cases; and not sleeping while still wearing your contact lenses. Users who also wear contact lenses longer than its suggested period are setting themselves up for permanent eye damage from bacterial infections and lack of oxygen.

Dr. Steven Shanbom, an ophthalmologist in Berkeley, Michigan, advised people to limit their eyes' exposure to contact lenses by wearing glasses every so often, Time reported. Shanbom recommended contact lenses to be used only during the work day and switching to glasses at home and during weekends. Swimming while wearing contact lenses is also a big no-no.

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