Eye health and vision problems from contacts lenses can be prevented by avoiding known risky behaviors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention almost all of the 41 million estimated contact lens wearers in the United States may be engaging in at least one behavior known to increase their risk of eye infections. Nearly one-third of contact lens wearers who participated in a national survey reported going to the eye doctor for red or painful eyes related to wearing contact lenses. More than 99 percent of survey respondents reported at least one risky behavior. The majority of wearers reported:

• Keeping their contact lens cases for longer than recommended (82.3 %)
• “Topping off” solution in the case by adding new solution to the existing solution instead of emptying the case out fully before adding new solution (55.1%)
• Wearing their lenses while sleeping (50.2 %)

Each of these behaviors has been reported in previous studies to raise the risk of eye infections by five times or more!
An online survey was administered to a sample of contact lens wearers to determine how often contact lens wearers engaged in behaviors that could put them at risk for an eye infection. CDC collaborated with the Contact Lens Assessment in Youth (CLAY) group, a multi-university group of researchers, to conduct the survey. A separate survey was used to estimate the number of contact lens wearers – about 41 million adults. Taken together, the survey results indicate that millions of Americans could be at risk for serious eye infections because of poor contact lens hygiene behaviors.

We know that contact lenses can be worn safely if wearers are mindful of using good hygiene. To prevent eye infections, contact lens wearers should:
• Wash hands with soap and water and dry them well before touching contact lenses
• Take contacts out before sleeping, showering or swimming
• Rub and rinse contacts in disinfecting solution each time they remove them
• Rub and rinse the case with contact lens solution, dry with a clean tissue and store it upside down with the caps off after each use
• Replace contact lens cases at least once every three months
• Avoid “topping off” solution in lens case (adding fresh solution to old solution)
• Carry a backup pair of glasses in case contact lenses have to be taken out

If you or someone you know have questions about contact lens care, hygiene, safety and how to avoid eye infections from contact lens wear, or wish to have a contact lens consultation or fitting, please call The Eye Clinic of Texas, an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas, Google+ or facebook.com/ecot.lasik.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 7111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas.

Galveston & Houston Ophthalmologist Allan Fradkin, M.D. shared some tips for maintaining healthy eyes and vision and wearing contact lenses. “We remind patients that contact lenses are a medical device and even those worn purely for cosmetic purposes, should be prescribed and properly fit by a licensed eye care professional,” explained Dr. Fradkin. “Too many patients forget this and end up buying and wearing contact lenses without proper medical guidance and a valid prescription. Then, often without even realizing it, they put themselves at risk for serious, even blinding eye infections.”

Following the instructions given to you by your eye doctor-carefully and completely can go a long way to help avoid contact lens problems and complications. “Our experience clearly shows that by not following instructions on proper wear and care, contact lens wearers are more likely to have discomfort and may actually put themselves at greater risk for infection or other serious complications, such as microbial keratitis,” said Dr. Fradkin. “We often find that improper storage, handling and disinfection of contact lenses really predispose patients to unnecessary risk.”

Some good contact lens care, handling and disinfection tips to follow include:

  • Always wash your hands with soap before inserting or removing your contact lenses.
  • Always empty the storage case of disinfection solution after removing your lenses, and fully refill with fresh solution before storing them.
  • NEVER clean your case with tap water.
  • REGULARLY-even daily- clean your case.
  • REGULARLY-at least monthly- replace your case.

If you or someone you know has questions about contact lens care, handling and disinfection please feel free to call The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area that provides all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services. Our Board Certified Ophthalmologists perform Laser Eye Surgery such as LASIK, Cataract Surgery & Lens Implants using advanced technology IOLs to correct complex problems such as astigmatism and near vision focusing problems including presbyopia, diagnosis and management of glaucoma, diagnosis and management of diabetic retinopathy, diagnosis and management of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Pediatric Ophthalmology. Texas EyeWear at The Eye Clinic of Texas provides personalized consultation and fitting of eyeglasses and eyeglass lenses for greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area patients.