Contact lenses may alter eye bacteria, making eye microbiome more skin-like. In the study of 58 adults, the researchers found that contact lenses induced changes in the eye microbiome, with higher proportions of the skin bacteria such as Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Methylobacterium, and Lactobacillus, and lower proportions of Haemophilus, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, and Corynebacterium.
The researchers are unsure how these changes occur. Perhaps, “these bacteria are transferred from the fingers to the lens and to the eye surface, or if the lenses exert selective pressures on the eye bacterial community in favor of skin bacteria,” said senior author Maria Dominguez-Bello.
It is well known that contact lens wear increases the risk of eye infections, but while the research is underway for better understanding of the mechanisms behind these findings, the main recommendation for contact lens wearers is to practice proper hygiene and safety precautions when handling contacts.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that roughly 41 million Americans use contact lenses. According to a new report presented by the CDC, nearly all contact lens wearers engage in risky eye care behavior, which can increase their risk of eye infections and complications.
In the CDC press release, researchers claim that more than 99 percent of survey respondents reported at least one risky behavior regarding their use of contact lenses. Examples of such behavior include wearing contacts while asleep, adding new solution to the existing solution, or wearing contact lenses for longer than recommended. The CDC reports that these practices increase the risk of contracting an eye infection fivefold.
The data was collected through an online survey that was administered to contact lens wearers to determine what kinds of risky behaviors the participants engaged in and how often. An alternative survey was used to gauge the total number of contact lens wearers in the U.S.
Based on the survey findings, the CDC has developed recommendations for contact lens wearers for infection prevention.
Their recommendations are as follows:
Those with impaired vision can choose to wear glasses or contact lenses. One may prefer contact lenses over glasses to avoid having something on your face all day long.
Contact lenses are round, plastic or silicone shaped disks placed on the eye. If worn and handled correctly, contact lenses can be a safe way for correcting your vision, but partaking in risky eye care practices can increase your risk of infection.
Other risks associated with contact lenses are:
The type of lens you choose can increase your risk of eye infection as well. The best way to avoid complications associated with contact lenses is to follow the recommendations provided on the package as well as the ones presented by the CDC above.
Although contact lenses are generally safe for anyone, in some cases, they can be an unsuitable option. Here are some reasons why contact lenses may not be the right choice for you.
If you think contact lenses may be for you, here is how you can select the right pair.
Here are a few other tips to keep in mind in order to properly care for your contact lenses and protect your eye health.
Although contact lenses are intended to improve your vision, with improper care they can pose a serious threat of infection. Safe contact lens handling will ensure you protect your eyes and vision.