ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - They help many of us see, but no one can see them. Millions of Americans wear contact lenses. Now, a few recent studies show almost all of those people are putting their eyes in danger.
Beer: it is how some people clean their contacts. It is what some people admit they've stored their lenses in.
"That's not good. You're playing Russian roulette there," Sheri McGurk told Ivanhoe.
Optometrist Sheri McGurk is shocked by the results of a study from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. It claims of the 30 million contact lens wearers in the U.S., 99 percent are doing something wrong. Erika Avery confesses to one of the top offenses.
"I've fallen asleep in them when I shouldn't have," Erika Avery told Ivanhoe.
Dr. McGurk said the danger in doing that is you're cutting off oxygen to your eyes, and they can quickly develop infections and bacterial ulcers called pseudomonas.
"Pseudomonas can eat through the cornea in 24 hours," Dr. McGurk explained.
Another study by Bausch and Lomb found 20 percent of contact wearers have stored their lenses in everything from beer to coke, to baby oil. Avery has used tap water.
"I've been guilty of that a few times," Avery admitted.
"Tap water is terrible. There are bacteria, there are chemicals in tap water," Dr. McGurk said.
The bacteria can cause a corneal infection that's resistant to treatment. McGurk said only use contact solution to store and clean your lenses. And if it's irritating your eyes talk to your doctor about switching brands.
"I switched solutions and that stopped happening," Jane Ellis told Ivanhoe.
But hair dresser Jane Ellis is guilty of something else. She's been using her two week contacts longer than recommended.
"I know when to change them because they start irritating my eyes," Ellis admitted.
"By the time that we can feel that they feel uncomfortable, we've gone about four or five days too long and there are actually a lot of deposits on there that are blocking the oxygen," Dr. McGurk explained.
"When in doubt, take them out," Dr. McGurk concluded.
Doctor McGurk said don't just soak your contacts. It's also very important to rub them between you fingers to dislodge any build up and let more oxygen through. Also, make sure to have a pair of backup glasses when your contacts just don't feel right.
CONTACT COMPLICATIONS: Contact lens–related complications range from self-limiting to sight threatening, which require rapid diagnosis and treatment to prevent vision loss. With millions of individuals wearing contact lenses, even a small percentage of complications can constitute a major public health problem. Contact lens complications are as varied as they are common, involving the lids, conjunctiva, and all layers of the cornea (i.e., epithelium, stroma, endothelium). (Source: www.medscape.com)
CONTACT LENS RISKS: Wearing contact lenses puts you at risk of several serious conditions including eye infections and corneal ulcers. These conditions can develop very quickly and can be very serious. In rare cases, these conditions can cause blindness.
You cannot determine the seriousness of a problem that develops when you are wearing contact lenses. You have to get help from an eye care professional to determine your problem. (Source: www.fda.com)
SYMPTOMS OF EYE IRRITATION OR INFECTION
excess tearing or other discharge
unusual sensitivity to light
itching, burning, or gritty feelings
IMPORTANT CONTACT LENS CARE TIPS
Follow recommended wearing schedule.
Do not substitute sterile saline solutions for multi-purpose solutions.
Rub and rinse your contact lenses as directed by your eye care professional.
Do not "top-off" the solutions in your case.
Always discard all of the leftover contact lens solution after each use.
Never reuse any lens solution.
Clean, rinse and air-dry your lens case each time lenses are removed.
Do not expose your contact lenses to any water: tap, bottled, distilled, lake or ocean water.
Contact your eye care professional if you experience any symptoms of eye irritation/infection.
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