Contact lenses–or CL–are safe and effective medical device for vision correction. But if not used properly, they pose an infection risk to wearers, including keratitis, and even blindness.
Approximately forty-one million people in the United States use CL, as noted by the NPR, and a new analysis posted by the CDC–or, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–on Friday reveals some of the most common mistakes that wearers do, resulting in common and serious eye infections.
Researchers with the national health institute examined one-thousand and seventy-five reports of corneal infections related to contact lens from the FDA–or, the Food and Drug Administration–between the years 2005 and 2015, and found that nineteen point eight percent of which “had a central corneal scar, had a decrease in visual acuity, or required a corneal transplant following the event.”
Meanwhile, twenty-five point one percent of eye infection cases were linked to misuse of contact lenses.
Among the two hundred seventy reports, or the twenty-five point one of the cases, seven percent reported occasional overnight wear or napping in lenses, and seven point nine reported ‘overwear’ of lenses or wearing their contact lenses longer than the prescribed period. Other reported misuse include use of expired lenses, storing lenses in tap water, and wearing lenses while swimming.
Previous research has shown that sleeping in contact lenses may increase infections by more than six-fold. In some cases, like Chad Groeschen from Cincinnati, sleeping with contacts can cause blindness.
The CDC says occasional or habitual sleeping in contact lenses has been shown to increase risk for microbial keratitis. They also noted that wearers of daily disposable lenses have a lower risk for eye infection. In their analysis, products described as ‘daily disposable lenses’ were infrequently listed in reports for microbial keratitis.