CDC: Adolescent contact lens wearers employ bad hygiene habits

Roughly 3 million U.S. adolescents age 12 to 17 wear contact lenses on a regular basis.
By Amy Wallace  |  Aug. 17, 2017 at 3:29 PM
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Aug. 17 (UPI) -- A report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows more than 85 percent of adolescent contact lens wearers report habits that increase eye infection risk.

The CDC report is the first to analyze wear and care habits of the roughly 3 million U.S. adolescents age 12 to 17 who wear contact lenses, the agency said.

"Contact lenses are a safe and effective way to correct your vision when they are worn and cared for as recommended," Dr. Jennifer Cope, medical epidemiologist in CDC's Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch, said in a press release. "However, adolescents and adults can improve the way they take care of their contact lenses to reduce their risk of serious eye infections."

The habits that increased the risk of eye infection in adolescents included 30 percent of adolescents sleeping or napping with contacts in, 44 percent not visiting an eye doctor once a year, and 27 percent swimming while wearing contact lenses.

The report also found that 81 percent of young adults age 18 to 24, and 87 percent of adults age 25 and older, have habits that increase their chance of eye infection that could threaten their vision.

The most frequently reported risky habits among both young adults and adults include 52 percent of young adults and 45 percent of adults not replacing lenses as often as prescribed. Additionally, about 41 percent of young adults and 42 percent of adults do not replace len cases on a regular basis and 33 percent of both groups sleep while wearing contact lenses.

Eye infections from poor contact lens hygiene habits can lead to serious problems, including blindness, the agency warns.

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