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CDC: Improper Contact Lens Hygiene Costs 175 Million In Health Care Visits Annually

If you wear contacts and you deal with bouts of cornea infections, you may want to double-check your cleaning habits.

CBS News has reported that missing even one contacts cleaning could results in an increased risk of keratits, a painful eye infection that results in red, itchy eyes, blurred vision and increased sensitivity to light. According to a recent Centers for Disease Control study, missing just one cleaning increase the risk of infection and about one out of every three contact users could avoid eye infections by maintaining the recommended cleaning schedule.

About 1 million health care visits in the United States are attributed to keratitis and other contacts-related conditions., costing about $175 million annually.

Despite the prevalence of infection and other conditions — not to mention an average per-visit cost of $175 — 99 percent of contacts users say they “cut corners” when it comes to their contacts upkeep.

Ninety-nine percent of contact lens wearers surveyed admitted cutting corners in contact lens hygiene at least once, in a way that could increase the risk for eye infection or inflammation.

The statistics for non-recommended contact use go beyond just missing cleaning cycles.

More than 50 percent of contacts users say they’ve left heir lenses in overnight. Granted, some contacts are designed to be safely used overnight, CDC recommendations point out that even overnight lenses can “increase the risk of eye infections.”

Other areas of corner cutting include showering with lenses in and swimming with lenses in.

Participants in the survey indicated that more than half of contact-lens users top off their lens cases more extra solution, rather than emptying the case out and filling it with more solution.

These users may “be increasing their risk” for infections like keratits.

Tens of millions of U.S. adults enjoy the benefits of contact lens wear, but many of them might be increasing their risk for complications because of poor wear and care behaviors.

Nearly 41 million Americans use contact lenses.

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