Contact lenses are a safe and effective vision correction option for nearly 40 million Americans if the FDA-regulated medical devices are worn and cared for correctly. The problem is, careless attitudes take their toll: The CDC reports nearly 1 million doctors' visits for contact lens-linked eye infections amounted to $170 million in added costs to the health care system.
"Contact lens hygiene and care regimen are often overlooked issues by patients, and sometimes people's habits are quite horrifying," says Jeffrey Sonsino, O.D., AOA Contact Lens and Cornea Section (CLCS) chair. That's why AOA & MSO champion a number of measures to curb contact lens abuse and safeguard patients, including participating with the CDC and others in Contact Lens Health Week.
"Optometrists spend considerable time and effort during an in-office contact lens evaluation educating our patients how to properly treat and care for contact lenses, which are considered medical devices," Dr. Sonsino says. "With this education, patients are best equipped to be safe and healthy for years to come."
Habits For Contact Lens Patients to Avoid
In order to keep your eyes healthy, try to not follow these habits:
- Sleeping or napping in contact lenses
- Showering or swimming in contact lenses
- Extending the recommended replacement frequency of cases, or lenses
- Topping off disinfecting solution
- Rinsing lenses with tap water
Be sure to visit your local doctor of optometry for an annual eye exam, and ensure that your contact lenses are right for your eyes. And make sure to minimize unhealthy habits like the ones listed above.
To find a doctor of optometry near you click here.