When cared for properly, contact lenses can provide a safe and effective way to correct vision. In fact, more than 45 million Americans wear contact lenses. However, wearing contact lenses can increase your chance of getting an eye infection — especially if you do not care for them the right way.
Healthy Habits = Healthy Eyes
You can enjoy the comfort and benefits of contact lenses while lowering your chance of an eye infection. Follow your eye doctor’s instructions for how to wear, clean, and store your lenses to lower the chance of getting germs in your eyes that could cause infections. Contact lens-related eye infections can lead to long-lasting damage to your eyesight. Even minor infections can be painful and disrupt day-to-day life. Your contact lens wear and care habits, supplies, and eye doctor are all essential to keeping your eyes healthy.
What You Can Do
If you wear contact lenses, take simple steps to protect your eyes.
1. Don’t wear contact lenses while sleeping unless directed to do so by your eye doctor.
- Studies have shown that wearing contact lenses while sleeping increases the chance of an eye infection by 6 to 8 times.
2. Don’t “top off” solution.
- Use only fresh contact lens solution in your case – never mix fresh solution with old or used solution. Adding new solution to used solution can lower germ-killing power.
3. Don’t swim or shower while wearing contact lenses.
- Contact lenses can carry germs from the water into the eye.
Visit CDC’s Healthy Contact Lens website to learn more tips and recommendations you can follow to protect your eyes.
What CDC Is Doing
CDC works to increase awareness of behaviors and risk factors that can affect the eye health of people who wear contact lens. As part of that work, CDC provides clear and consistent recommendations about properly wearing, caring, and maintaining your contact lenses.
Keeping Eyes Healthy on Spring Break
Whether you are staying up late or enjoying a swim over spring break, don’t forget to take care of your contacts and your eyes! From February 26 to March 2, 2018, CDC will share information and materials for students on the importance of wearing and caring for their contact lenses properly while on spring break.
Contact Lens Health Week
Save the date! August 20-24, 2018, marks the fifth annual Contact Lens Health Week. CDC organized Contact Lens Health Week to encourage contact lens wearers to adopt healthy habits that can reduce their chances of getting an eye infection.
A number of tools and materials are available to help promote Contact Lens Health Week and healthy contact lens wear and care throughout the year.
You only have one pair of eyes, so take care of them! Taking proper care of your contact lenses can help you see better and keep your eyes healthy.