CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Almost everyone who wears contact lenses does something that could lead to a serious eye infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
A new report published Thursday by the CDC and Prevention says 99 percent of people surveyed reported at least one risky behavior.
The CDC estimated 41 million people in this country wear contact lenses, and almost one third of the people who took part in the national survey said they had gone to the doctor for red or painful eyes because of their contacts.
The report found three most common offenses:
- More than 82 percent said they kept their contact lens cases longer than recommended
- More than 55 percent said they topped off solution in their cases instead of emptying the case and adding new solution
- Just over 50 percent said they wore their contacts while they slept.
Each of those behaviors raises risk of eye infections five-fold or more, the CDC says.
To prevent eye infections, the CDC recommends these steps:
- 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 are removed
- 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.
Experts say it is important not to cut corners in order to avoid eye infections and complications.
For more information on preventing eye infections and proper contact lens wear, please visit: www.cdc.gov/contactlenses.