More than 45 million Americans of all ages use contact lenses, one of the safest medical devices. Yet, between 40 and 90 percent of contact lens wearers fall victim to common contact lens hygiene mistakes, which can lead to major complications. Failing to properly wear and care for contact lenses, illegal sales and even use of non-corrective decorative contact lenses not prescribed by a doctor are all dangerous practices that could put eye health at risk.
The nonprofit American Optometric Association (AOA), along with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), are urging Americans to take notice and practice healthy contact lens habits during Contact Lens Health Week, August 20th-24th.
Common care mistakes include failure to clean and store lenses as directed by a doctor of optometry and sleeping while wearing contacts, which increase chances of getting bacteria in the eyes and causing infection. Serious eye infections can lead to blindness and affect up to one out of every 500 contact lens users per year, and even minor infections can be painful and disrupt day-day life.
Increased reports of several retailers, such as novelty shop and flea markets, across the country selling contact lenses without prescriptions also puts contact lens wearers at risk. Non-corrective lenses or even some decorative contact lenses, can cause bacterial infections, allergic reactions and even significant damage to the eye’s ability to function.