Dirty . .. .fingers, lenses or cases – the Real Cause of Most Contact Lens Related Infections

Historically doctors have debated over the major cause of contact lens related infections – poor hygiene (dirty fingers), lenses that are overworn or unclean or lens cases that are unclean. Until recently there was no definitive study that determined which risk was the greatest. Of course the compliant contact lens wearer should be careful to have clean hands, lenses and cases when using contact lenses, but learning which risk factor is the greatest can lead to better recommendations on safe contact lens wear by the doctor.

A study by the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom found that most contact lens wearers do not wash their hands before inserting their lenses, and are less likely to do so when removing them. Another study found that risk for infection increases by four times when wearers do not properly clean their cases. The AOA also suggested that tests be performed with dirty hands and dirty cases. (J. Midelfart, A. Midelfart and L. Bevanger, Microbial contamination of contact lens cases among medical students, CLAO J 22 (1996) (1)

At Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care, a 4 doctor private eye care practice in Rockville, Maryland, we recommend one-a-day contact lenses as the healthiest option for most of our soft disposable contact lens wearing patients. Our patients wearing one-a-day lenses insert a sterile contact lens into their eye every morning, are not subjected to the risks of using dirty contact lens cases and experience greater comfort similar to the comfort of the first day wearing a contact lens, but every day instead of once a week or once a month. People with eye allergies find them more comfortable and patients who experience symptoms of dryness generally or after 8 or so hours of wear find the one days to be more comfortable generally. It’s a win-win; we know we are fitting a healthier option and patients love the comfort and convenience of one-a-day contacts

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