About 38 million Americans wear contact lenses. They offer good sight without the hassle of wearing glasses. But, if not taken care of correctly, they can also lead to a painful and sometimes blinding condition called keratitis, a condition of the cornea that can be caused by a variety of bacteria, fungi and other germs.
MANY ARE AFFECTED, AND AT A HIGH COST.
CDC estimates that, each year, Americans make nearly a million doctor visits for keratitis, at a cost of $175 million in direct healthcare costs. Most eye infections are easily treatable if caught early but can lead to inflammation, pain and even blindness if people don’t seek treatment. Contact lens wear is one of the primary culprits that lead to infections.
EARLY DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT IS KEY.
Most keratitis cases can be easily treated if caught early. Anyone who has pain or inflammation in their eyes – especially if they wear contacts – should see a doctor promptly.
HEALTHY EYE HABITS MEAN HEALTHY EYES.
Good hygiene and habits while wearing, caring for and storing contact lenses can help contact lens wearers safe from keratitis.
Wash hands with soap and water and dry well before touching contact lenses
Take contacts out before bed, showering or swimming
Rub and rinse contacts in disinfecting solution each time they remove them.
Rub and rinse the case with contact lens solution, dry with a clean tissue and store upside down with the caps off after each use.
Replace contact lens case at least once every three months.
Don’t “top off” solution in lens case. Use only fresh contact lens solution each time.
Carry a spare pair of glasses in case contacts need to be removed.