Prevent Blindness has declared October as Contact Lens Safety Awareness Month in an effort to educate the public on the best ways to obtain, care for and use contact lenses.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 41 million Americans wear contact lenses. However, data from a recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shows that of contact lens-related corneal infections reported to the FDA, close to 20 percent of patients had “a central corneal scar, a decrease in visual acuity or required a corneal transplant following the event.”
In addition, more than 25 percent of the infections were accompanied by “modifiable factors, including sleeping in contact lenses or poor contact lens hygiene.”
Prevent Blindness recommends the following tips for contact lens care:
• The best way to help avoid eye injuries and infections is to follow the instructions as prescribed by an eyecare professional.
• Before handling contact lenses, wash hands with soap and water, then rinse and dry them with a lint-free towel.
• Minimize contact with water, including removing lenses before going swimming or in a hot tub.
• Never sleep in contact lenses unless prescribed by an eye doctor.
• Contact lenses should not be rinsed with or stored in water (tap or sterile water).
• Wear and replace contact lenses according to the schedule prescribed by an eyecare professional.
• During cleaning, using fresh solution, rub contact lenses with clean fingers, then rinse the lenses with solution before soaking them – even if the solution is a “no-rub” variety.
• Contact lens cases should always be cleaned with fresh solution—not water. Then leave the empty case open to air dry.
• Keep the contact lens case clean and replace it regularly, at least every three months.
• Do not re-use old solution or “top off” the solution in your lens case.
• Do not use cracked or damaged lens cases. Lens cases can be a source of contamination and infection.
Visual Health is committed to providing you information related to all aspects of visual health. For more information on contact lens or Halloween eye safety, call (800) 331-2020 or log on to www.preventblindness.org. To schedule an appointment with Visual Health, call us at 561-964-0707.