All the Gross Things We Do With Our Contact Lenses

The CDC says 99% of people are doing something wrong
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2015 3:32 AM CDT
All the Gross Things We Do With Our Contact Lenses
The CDC says around a third of lens wearers have had to go to a doctor to have red or painful eyes treated.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Contact lens wearers nationwide have been interviewed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the CDC has concluded that almost all of the 41 million contact lens wearers in America are doing at least one thing wrong, NBC News reports. Among the bad habits that the CDC warns of are putting 99% of contact lens wearers at risk of eye infection:

  • Rinsing them in tap water: This just isn't clean enough. "Even household tap water, although treated to be safe for drinking, is not sterile and contains microorganisms that can contaminate lens cases and contact lenses and cause eye infection," the CDC says.
  • Swimming and showering with lenses in: These are also no-nos, but the survey found that 61% and 85% of wearers do these things, respectively, reports CBS News.

  • Using them for far too long: This makes them more susceptible to germs. "One thing that we see people doing a lot is using the lenses beyond the lifetime of the lens," American Academy of Ophthalmology spokesman Thomas Steinemann tells USA Today. "If it's a two-week lens, they keep it four or six weeks; if it's one month, they keep it two."
  • Not emptying the lens case: More than half of lens wearers reported sometimes "topping off" their lens case with more solution instead of emptying and cleaning daily as recommended.
  • Napping or sleeping in contacts: People who say this can make you go blind are right. With the eyelid acting as a barrier, this can trap bacteria on your eye. "When you have the plastic contact lens over the eye, you are depriving the eye of oxygen but also increasing the risk of germs attacking the cornea," Steinemann says.
(Researchers say wearing contacts can make lasting changes to your eyes.)

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