Poll: Some at Risk by Contact Lens Hygiene

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 20 (UPI) — Only about a quarter of Americans who wear contact lenses replace daily disposable lenses every day as recommended, a survey indicates.

Christine Sindt of American Optometric Association and the University of Iowa says wearing disposable lenses longer than recommended is a big mistake because it can increase bacteria on the lens, which can damage the cornea.

The annual American Eye-Q survey, by the American Optometric Association, indicates one-quarter of respondents report wearing contact lenses while sleeping — a habit that can lead to infections and dry eye syndrome.

“Contact lenses are among the safest forms of vision correction when patients follow the proper care and wearing instructions provided by their eye doctor,” Sindt says in a statement.

The survey says 58 percent say they clean and disinfect their contact lenses with an appropriate solution, 23 percent say they soak or clean lenses in water and 12 percent store their contacts in something other than a typical storage case.

Contact lenses must be cleaned to remove secretions, films or deposits, while disinfecting is required to destroy germs, but water does not disinfect and can contaminate contacts, Sindt says. Using anything instead of an appropriate case for storing lenses can allow bacteria to grow on or near contacts, Sindt adds.

The survey of 1,007 U.S. adults was conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates April 14-21 and has a margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level.

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