The majority of contact lens wearers do not comply with safe contact lens practices, according to a new study from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Of the more than 400 contact lens wearers surveyed, more than 80 percent believe they follow good practices while only 2 percent actually do so.
Key wrongdoings included sleeping while wearing contact lenses and using lenses longer than recommended. Interestingly, the majority of respondents demonstrated awareness of the risks associated with these behaviors.
Showering and swimming while wearing contacts were also popular malpractices. Only 2 out of 3 respondents reported awareness of potential contact lens complications, such as Acanthamoeba keratitis, from tap water and wearing lenses during water sports. Even less respondencts were aware of the risks from showering with lenses.
Although most patients knew of the importance of hand washing before lens handling, about 90 percent were not aware of the importance of disposing used contact lens solution before adding fresh solution. In addition, nearly half of the respondents admitted to not replacing their lens case as recommended, or only doing so when they receive a new one from their eye doctor.
The researchers concluded that increased patient education could improve compliance in the short term, but new approaches may be needed for maximal compliance in the long term.
The study was reported in the December issue of Optometry and Vision Science.
Tags: contact lens care