Danielle M. Robertson and Dr. H. Dwight Cavanagh of The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas said a significant proportion of patients don't follow recommended care guidelines even though they're aware such behavior places them at increased risk of complications.
The researchers analyzed contact lens care practices and knowledge of complications and risk factors in two groups of contact lens wearers -- 281 patients visiting a random sample of eye care practitioners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and 152 seen at a university eye clinic.
Most patients could identify important risk factors for lens-related complications such as "topping off" rather than replacing contact lens solution; exposing lenses to tap water, including wearing lenses while showering; and poor hygiene, the researchers said.
"Overall, 85 percent of patients perceived themselves as compliant with their lens wear and care practices," Robertson and Cavanagh wrote in the report. "Compliance was rated good for only 2 percent of patients. The average contact lens wearer only performed 50 percent of the recommended behaviors."
The study was published in the journal Optometry and Vision Science.