Most survey respondents said they used tap water to clean their lens case.
Many contact lens wearers have bad habits that significantly increase their risk of discomfort and eye infections, according to two online surveys.
A total of 1,432 people who wear frequent replacement contact lenses responded to the surveys, which included questions about hygiene, lens disinfection, lens replacement frequency and replacement of lens storage cases.
Respondents ranged in age from 12 to 39 and wore conventional soft contacts or silicone hydrogel contact lenses prescribed for two-week or monthly replacement.
The survey results revealed:
- Nearly half of respondents did not wash their hands before applying their contact lenses in the morning (44 percent) or removing them at night (49 percent).
- Only about a quarter of respondents rubbed their lenses with contact lens solution in the morning (27 percent) or after lens removal (25 percent).
- A significant number of respondents failed to replace their contacts as frequently as directed by their eye care provider.
- Only 46 percent of respondents completely emptied and refilled their lens case with fresh contact lens solution after each use. (Failure to do so has been linked to contact lens-related fungal eye infections.)
- On average, respondents cleaned their lens storage case two to three times per week. Thirty percent said they cleaned their lens case daily, while 33 percent cleaned it monthly or less often.
- Most respondents said they used tap water when cleaning their lens case (a practice that increases the risk of a serious eye infection called Acanthamoeba keratitis).
Also, though most optometrists and ophthalmologists recommend replacing contact lens cases every three months, 48 percent of respondents said they replace their case annually or less often.
The study, sponsored by Vistakon, a division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, will appear in a future issue of Contact Lens & Anterior Eye.