In a report released this week by the CDC it estimates that almost one million visits to doctors’ offices, hospital emergency departments, and urgent care clinics occur each year due to infections of the cornea of the eye. Improper contact lens use is the biggest risk factor.
Here at Stamps Health Services we saw approximately 20 patients with this condition during the last academic year. Not only can this condition be disruptive and inconvenient, it can lead to scarring of the cornea of the eye and permanently impaired vision.
The CDC suggests the following actions to reduce the risk of corneal infection:
Contact lens habits and hygiene
- Wash hands with soap and water. Dry hands well with a clean cloth before touching contact lenses each time they are inserted or removed.
- Don't sleep in contact lenses unless prescribed to do so by an eye care provider.
- Keep water away from contact lenses. Avoid showering while wearing contact lenses, and remove them before using a hot tub or swimming.
Contact lenses and supplies
- Rub and rinse contact lenses with contact lens disinfecting solution, never water or saliva, to clean them each time they are removed.
- Never store contact lenses in water.
- Replace contact lenses as often as recommended by an eye care provider.
- Rub and rinse contact lens case with contact lens solution, never water, and then empty and dry with a clean tissue. Store upside down with the caps off after each use.
- Replace contact lens case at least once every 3 months.
- Don't "top off" solution. Use only fresh contact lens solution in the case. Never mix fresh solution with old or used solution.
- Use only the contact lens solution recommended by an eye care provider.
Eye care provider involvement
- Remove contact lenses immediately and call an eye care provider if experiencing eye pain, discomfort, redness, or blurred vision.
- Carry a backup pair of glasses with a current prescription in case contact lenses need to be removed