Daily Health Headlines

Improper Contact Lens Use Causes Millions of Eye Infections: CDC

👤by Steven Reinberg 0 comments 🕔Friday, November 14th, 2014

THURSDAY, Nov. 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Millions of Americans misuse contact lenses -- wearing them too long, not cleaning them properly -- and that causes almost a million cases of eye infection in the United States annually, a new report finds.

These infections are clinically known as keratitis, an infection of the cornea, the clear dome that covers the colored part of the eye.

Keratitis can cause pain and inflammation and, in severe cases, even blindness, according to experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who authored the new report released Thursday.

For the estimated 38 million Americans who wear contact lenses, the largest risk factor for this infection is the improper care of their lenses, agency experts said.

"Contact lenses offer many benefits, but they are not risk-free," Dr. Jennifer Cope, a CDC medical epidemiologist, said during a news conference.

"Keratitis can be a scary infection, but it is preventable if people follow healthy habits and take care of their eyes and their lenses," she added.

Some bad habits, such as sleeping with contact lenses, failing to clean and replace lens solution frequently, and letting contact lenses get wet while swimming or in the shower, greatly raises the risk for keratitis, Cope said.

For example, "people who wear their contact lenses overnight are more than 20 times more likely to get keratitis," she said.

However, when treated quickly, most cases of keratitis can be cured easily without any lasting damage, she added.

Treatment can be pricey, though. According to Cope, the average doctor visit for the condition costs about $151 and the average emergency room visit costs $587.

In all, keratitis adds about $175 million to Americans' health bills each year, she said.

For the report, CDC researchers analyzed three national databases of outpatient care centers and emergency rooms. Their efforts created, for the first time, estimates of how much keratitis occurs in the United States. They estimated that each year there are some 930,000 visits to doctors' offices and outpatient clinics and 58,000 emergency room visits for eye infections.

More women than men saw their doctor for an eye infection (63 percent) and ended up going to the emergency room (55 percent), the researchers found. Keratitis affects all age groups, from teens to seniors, at about the same rate, the CDC team added.

Dr. Alfred Sommer is a professor of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins University's Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore. He described keratitis as "an injury or inflammation of the cornea, the clear part of the front of the eye through which we see."

"There is no question that many people love to use contact lenses instead of spectacles. Using contact lenses, however, does carry the risk of infection and, in extreme cases, blindness," Sommer said.

If keratitis is not treated quickly and effectively, it causes scarring, which interferes with vision, he explained. And "if it is not cured, it can perforate, and in the worst instances, the eye can be lost. Prompt recognition and treatment is essential. Patients are almost always aware of the problem since it generally causes significant pain, in addition to clouding of vision."

Sommer cautioned that unclean lens carry-cases and sloppy cleaning practices can cause contamination of contact lenses and dramatically raise the risk of keratitis.

However, that risk can be minimized, he said, by being certain never to keep the contact lenses in the eyes overnight and being very careful to follow proper techniques for cleaning and storing them.

To prevent keratitis the CDC recommends:

Washing hands with soap and water before touching contact lenses, Removing contacts before bed, showering or swimming, Rubbing and rinsing contacts in disinfecting solution after taking them out, Rubbing and rinsing the contact lens case with contact lens solution, drying the case and keeping it upside down with the caps off, Replacing lens cases at least every three months.

The CDC also recommends carrying glasses should contact lenses have to be removed.

The new report was published Nov. 14 in the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Article Credits / Source

Steven Reinberg / HealthDay

Steven Reinberg wrote this story for HealthDay. HealthDay provides up to the minute breaking health news. Click here to view this full article from HealthDay.

SOURCES: Alfred Sommer, M.D., professor, ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins University's Wilmer Eye Institute, and dean emeritus, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; Nov. 13, 2014, press conference with Jennifer Cope, M.D., M.P.H., medical epidemiologist, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Nov. 14, 2104, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

View More Articles From Steven Reinberg 🌎View Article Website

Sponsored Product

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

People who have trouble sleeping typically have low levels of melatonin, so melatonin supplements seem like a logical fix for insomnia. There is a high demand for sleep aids, especially in the U.S. The National Health Interview Survey done in 2002, and again in 2007, found 1.6 million US adults were using complementary and alternative sleep aids for insomnia. Lunar Sleep was a top choice. Use Promo Code: Sleep2014 and only pay $1.95 S&H.

Get Lunar Sleep for $1.95

More Eyesight Articles

Doctors Use iPads to Treat 'Lazy Eye,' With Mixed Results

Doctors Use iPads to Treat 'Lazy Eye,' With Mixed Results0

THURSDAY, Nov. 10, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Does playing video games on an iPad work better than standard eye-patching for improving vision in children with lazy eye? Two new studies in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology reach seemingly ...

Some Primates Have Vision Troubles as They Age

Some Primates Have Vision Troubles as They Age0

TUESDAY, Nov. 8, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Just like humans, some primates start having difficulty seeing things up close as they age. Researchers reviewed photos of 14 wild bonobos as they groomed each other. The primates were between 11 and 45 ...

Paintball Causes Many Vision-Robbing Eye Injuries

Paintball Causes Many Vision-Robbing Eye Injuries0

THURSDAY, Nov. 4, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Paintball guns pose the greatest risk of vision loss among the sports most commonly associated with eye injuries, a new study finds. Basketball, cycling and baseball injuries to the eye occur more ...

Health Tip: Are Your Screens Causing Eye Strain?

Health Tip: Are Your Screens Causing Eye Strain?0

(HealthDay News) -- Staring at your TV, computer, smart phone or tablet can cause a problem known as computer vision syndrome, or digital eye strain. The American Optometric Association says to watch for these warning signs: Feeling that ...

Mediterranean Diet, Caffeine May Be Good for Your Eyes

Mediterranean Diet, Caffeine May Be Good for Your Eyes0

THURSDAY, Oct. 20, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Eating a Mediterranean diet and consuming caffeine may lower your chances of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness, according to a new study. Previous ...

View More Eyesight Articles


Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest health news as it breaks!

Your information will not be shared with anyone!