Wear Contact Lenses? They’re Probably Swimming in Germs

Most people would think twice about wearing the same old dirty underwear every day. It turns out that contact lens wearers don’t give much thought to putting the same old dirty lenses in their eyes every day.

Contact lenses are expensive and require a prescription, so it’s tempting to skimp on new lenses, new cases and disinfecting solution. And, let’s face it: Sometimes, you just don’t feel like going through the disinfecting process.

That can lead to some fairly nasty eye infections. About 41 million people in the United States wear contact lenses. A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that nearly all are bad contact lens wearers, and we pay the price with our eye health. Of lens users who took part in the survey, one third said they saw a doctor for eye troubles related to their lenses.

Why we’re bad contact lenses wearers

More than 99 percent of survey respondents reported at least one risky behavior. Some common risks include:

  • Using old contact lens cases.
  • Topping off instead of emptying the cases and using fresh solution, leaving your lenses swimming in germs.
  • Sleeping with lenses in.

These habits can raise the risk of eye infection by five times or more.

How not to be a bad contact lens wearer

  • Always wash your hands with soap and water. Dry them well before touching your lenses.
  • Rub and rinse with disinfecting solution every time you take your contacts out.
  • Use lens solution to clean your case. Dry it and store it upside down, with the caps off, after each use.
  • Replace the case every three months.
  • Don’t top off solution use fresh solution every time.
  • Remove contacts before you shower, sleep or swim.
  • Never expose your contacts to water. This includes tap, bottled, distilled, lake or ocean water.
  • Never use saliva to moisten your contacts.
  • Don’t transfer lens solution to any other container — it’s an easy way to contaminate your solution.
  • Follow your doctor’s recommendations for replacing contact lenses.
  • Get regular eye exams.

When your eyes are red or irritated, don’t push through it. Remove your contacts and give your eyes a break. If they don’t clear up, continue to hurt, are sensitive to light or vision gets blurry, see your eye doctor.

Serious eye infections can lead to temporary or permanent vision loss.

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Photo: VladimirFloyd/iStock/Thinkstock

43 comments

Cindy S
Cindy Smithabout a year ago

thanks

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Sonia M
Sonia M1 years ago

Good reminders thanks for sharing

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen3 years ago

Thank you

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Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran3 years ago

noted

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Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen3 years ago

Thank you

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Angela AWAY
Angela K3 years ago

Thanks for sharing

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Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen3 years ago

Thank you

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Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey3 years ago

Case should be changed every month not three monthly

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Dennis H.
Dennis H3 years ago

Thanks.

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