There are nearly one million doctor visits to the U.S. every year for keratitis.
The first annual Contact Lens Health Week begins Nov. 17. To celebrate, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), announced in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that it has developed a campaign to promote healthy use of contact lenses. In addition, the CDC has put out a report on microbial keratitis, one of the effects of unsafe or unhygienic contact lens use.
According to the CDC, keratitis, or inflammation of the cornea, can result in partial or total loss of vision. Keratitis is the result of infectious agents such as microbes or noninfectious causes such as trauma. For microbial keratitis, contact lens is the highest risk factor and poor contact lens hygiene puts individuals at risk. Outbreaks of microbial keratitis have been linked to certain contact lens solutions.
Medical News Today reports that there are nearly one million doctor visits to the U.S. every year for keratitis. This results in a direct health care cost of $175 million. Better contact lens hygiene could reduce the burden of keratitis. Fortunately, if it is caught early, the condition is easily treated. Left untreated, keratitis leads to further inflammation, pain, and even blindness.
Pain or inflammation around the eyes is a sign of possible infection, from keratitis or another condition. Any person experiencing such symptoms should seek medical attention immediately. In particular, those who wear contact lenses and are having these symptoms could be at a higher risk.
Good hygiene habits for contact lenses include washing hands before handling contacts, cleaning contacts every time they are removed, using fresh solution in the contact lens case every time, and only using the contact lens solution recommended by an eye care provider. With these steps and watching for warning signs, individuals can reduce their risk for keratitis.