This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is celebrating Contact Lens Health Week to raise awareness among contact lens wearers about proper lens care habits.
Image courtesy of the CDCAtlanta-This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is celebrating Contact Lens Health Week to raise awareness among contact lens wearers about proper lens care habits.
This year’s Contact Lens Health Week theme is “Healthy Habits Mean Healthy Eyes.” During the campaign, the CDC will stress the importance of healthy contact lens hygiene habits; proper use, care, and storage of contact lenses and supplies; and regular visits to an eyecare provider. This year’s campaign will primarily target teens to encourage healthy habits early.
A recent CDC study found that one third of adult contact lens wearers report at least one healthcare visit for a red or painful eye while wearing contact lenses, and approximately 99 percent contact lens wearers reported at least one risk behavior ever for eye infections or inflammation.
The main concern? Contact lens wearers of all types frequently reported exposure of their contact lenses to water, including storing or rinsing their lenses in tap water and showering or swimming while wearing lenses.
Other common problems included:
• Sleeping in contact lenses
• Noncompliance with case replacement schedules
• Noncompliance with lens replacement schedules
• Topping off solution
“Considering the many steps involved to be fully compliant with lens care, it doesn’t surprise me that 99 percent of lens wearers engaged in one or more forms of risky behavior,” says Optometry Times Editorial Advisory Board member Joseph P. Shovlin, OD, FAAO, and who is a member of the CDC Contact Lens Workgroup. “Unfortunately, there’s an astounding cost to contact lens-related complications not to mention the morbidity potential for a tragic sight-threatening event. This study highlights the need for targeted prevention messages that remains the goal of the CDC initiatives’ campaign. We need to continue to remind our patients that contact lenses are a medical device and pose risk to the wearer when not cared for properly.”
Optometry Times Editorial Advisory Board member Mile Brujic, OD, says this study confirms several things.
“One, contact lenses are a safe and healthy vision correction for patients,” he says. “Two, those that abuse the privilege of wearing contact lenses by participating in non-compliant behaviors increases the risk of adverse events. And three, this demonstrates the resilience of the ocular surface.
“Although 99 percent of individuals admit to participating in at least one non-compliant behavior, there is a relatively small level of adverse events. We would expect that number to be higher with the level of non-compliance,” says Dr. Brujic. “It is thus becoming more important for optometrists to prescribe appropriate lens care regimens and discuss the importance of compliant habits. Additionally, it may even influence the lenses that an optometrist prescribes. As an example, given that daily disposable lenses have the highest rate of compliance, it may be appropriate option for a number of patients.”
Next: What you can do to help
The CDC offers a variety of resources that you can use to promote healthy contact lens habits to your own patients in your office, on your website, and on social media profiles.
The available free resources include:
The CDC is also hosting a Twitter chat on healthy contact lens habits from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, August 24. To follow along or participate, follow the CDC @CDCgov or follow the hashtag #HealthyContactsChat.