This puts most of the 41 million lens users nationwide at risk of contracting an eye infection. Apparently, the number of lens wearers who follow every hygiene recommendation related to them is just 100,000; the rest are making one or more types of mistakes which sends about a third of them to the doctor, with complains about irritated/sore eyes, poor eyesight or worse.
The more worrying thing is that large chunks of lens wearers are ignoring basic hygiene norms. For example almost half of them are not removing the lenses when sleeping as indicated, while almost two thirds used them while swimming. Most of them are also prone to overuse the same lens instead of purchasing other ones at the end of their recommended usage span. Lenses become more prone to hosting germs the more they are kept.
Another bad habit that lens users are getting into is not changing their lens cases. Contact lens cases should normally be changed every three months to prevent the forming of microorganisms and bacteria inside which could then pose a health problem for the user; but about 80 per cent of American lens users keep their cases for a longer period.
Proper keeping of the lenses when not used is also a big problem with American citizens. Most of them don’t bother to change the special lens solution in which they are supposed to be cleansed, just adding more so that it tops off, while some even stop using it at all – and replace it with tap water, a common occurrence especially along hard contact lens users.
The worst thing about these statistics is the fact that the 1,000 surveyed lens users are only adults. This means that lens hygiene amongst teens is probably even worse, since they are prone of downplaying its importance and probably do not receive the greatest example from those who should properly educate them in this regard.
According to the CDC, doctor visits for inflammation of the cornea (keratitis) – one of the most common effects of improper lens hygiene – have surpassed the one million per year mark. The institution strongly recommends lens users to be careful about its hygiene, as it can go a long way towards avoiding uncomfortable eye problems.
Image Source: NBC News