Just last week the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has informed that there are no less than 41 million adults who wear contact lenses in the United States. Out of all of these, 99 percent (99%) don’t clean their contact lenses properly.
The CDC reported that they either wash them with tap water rather than special disinfectants, or they sleep with them in. Both of these mistakes can lead to serious eye problems and even blindness.
Chad Groeschen, a 39 year old man who works as a sculptor and builder, learned that lesson the hard way. His case just surfaced in the media and should serve as a warning to fellow contact lens users. A little while ago he was working on a client’s outdoor deck, when suddenly, one of his eyes started itching. He dismissed the symptom at first, believing that he was simply having an allergic reaction.
When the problem worsened and his eye got goopy, he assumed he had a sinus infection. Even though he couldn’t see out of his left eye, he never once thought that his contact lenses were responsible for his discomfort.
But when a team of doctors from the Cincinnati Eye Institute finally got a look at Groeschen’s eyes, they diagnosed him with a bacterial infection that was attacking his cornea and quickly destroying it. As the eye’s protective outer layer started to go, so did his vision.
Groeschen gave a statement saying that “It was basically that if I hadn’t had contacts [the bacteria] might not have incubated”. But the contacts themselves are not necessarily to be blamed as Groeschen could have taken better care of them.
The contact lenses he had been using were made for extended wear and Groeschen only took them out once a week to clean them. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved this type of lenses for overnight wear, however the American Academy of Ophthalmology has made no secret of the fact that wearing them in your sleep increases the risk of developing an infection.
The recent CDC reported revealed that 50 percent (50%) of all Americans who wear contact lenses are guilty of sleeping overnight with their lenses in, and 87 percent (87%) of all Americans who wear contact lenses are guilty of napping with their lenses in.
But there are many other serious mistakes that people don’t even realize that they’re making. Fifty percent (50%) of the subjects surveyed by the CDC failed to replace their contacts as often as they should have, and 82 percent (82%) of the subjects surveyed by the CDC failed to replace their contact cases as often as they should have.
Old contact lens solution loses all of its disinfecting power, however 55 percent (55%) of the subjects surveyed by the CDC kept it in their contact lens cases a lot longer than they were supposed to.
Eighty-five percent (85%) of the subjects surveyed by the CDC also reported that they took showers with their contact lenses in. The problem with this is that it can allow the bacteria in the water to get on the lenses.
Dr. Jennifer R. Cope, the report’s lead author and medical epidemiologist at the CDC, gave a statement saying that “Individuals are likely doing at least one, if not more, of these behaviors”.
And as you might have expected, making more than one of these mistakes will only make you more likely to get an infection.
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