A report released last week from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention linked poor contacts lens use and hygiene habits to hundreds of thousands of eye infections per year. The report was released in advance of the first annual Contact Lens Health Week (Nov. 17-21) – an industry-wide effort to raise awareness for this growing issue. Durrie Vision, a Kansas City-based ophthalmology and refractive surgery practice led by Dr. Daniel Durrie and Dr. Jason Stahl, will be participating in this public health campaign throughout the week. “At Durrie Vision, our goal is to provide a safe and effective alternative to contact lenses and glasses, but we also understand that not everyone is a candidate for laser vision correction,” Dr. Stahl notes. “It’s important to ensure that those who do wear contacts are educated on proper hygiene techniques to help reduce the risk of infection.”
Common risk factors for Keratitis – an inflammatory disease affecting the cornea – include poor storage case hygiene and the misuse of overnight and extended wear lenses. According to Jennifer Cope, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC, “People who wear contact lenses overnight are more than 20 times more likely to get Keratitis.” Further highlighting the negative impact of improper contact lens use, the CDC report states that Keratitis and conditions caused by contact lens wear are responsible for an estimated 930,000 doctor’s office and outpatient clinic visits and 58,000 emergency department visits each year.
“The CDC report on the risks associated with contact lenses illustrates the importance of providing a safe alternative for our patients struggling with nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism,” Dr. Durrie states. Over the years, Durrie Vision has led or contributed to research that has significantly advanced the field of laser vision correction. Recently, Durrie Vision assisted in a comprehensive study conducted by the Federal Drug Administration as part of the LASIK Quality of Life Collaboration Project (LQOLCP). Dr. Durrie reports, “Results from the FDA study confirm LASIK is both a safe and effective treatment for common vision errors.” While the study revealed overwhelmingly positive outcomes, not everyone is a candidate for laser vision correction procedures. For those patients or for those who prefer to wear contact lenses, the following preventative measures are recommended by the CDC:
- Wash hands with soap and water. Dry hands well with a clean cloth before touching contact lenses each time they are inserted or removed.
- Don’t sleep in contact lenses unless prescribed to do so by an eye care provider.
- Keep water away from contact lenses. Avoid showering while wearing contact lenses, and remove them before using a hot tub or swimming.
- Rub and rinse contact lenses with contact lens disinfecting solution, never water or saliva, to clean them each time they are removed.
- Never store contact lenses in water.
- Replace contact lenses as often as recommended by an eye care provider.
- Rub and rinse contact lens case with contact lens solution, never water, and then empty and dry with a clean tissue. Store upside down with the caps off after each use.
- Replace contact lens case at least once every 3 months.
- Don’t “top off” solution. Use only fresh contact lens solution in the case. Never mix fresh solution with old or used solution.
- Use only the contact lens solution recommended by an eye care provider.
About Durrie Vision
Durrie Vision, in Overland Park, Kansas, is a world-class refractive surgery center and research department located in the heart of America. At Durrie Vision, our focus is on providing exceptional outcomes within a world-class patient experience. Our laser vision correction options, such as advanced LASIK and refractive lens procedures, have helped thousands of people enjoy better vision. We are committed to excellence because the world turns to us for answers, and our patients turn to us for the best quality of care and technology available. Our refractive surgeons – Dr. Daniel S. Durrie, Dr. Jason E. Stahl, and Dr. Timothy P. Lindquist – are among the most experienced refractive surgeons in the country with international reputations as innovators and leaders in the field.