Spring Break Travel Advisory: Pack Backup Contact Lens Supplies to Avoid Infections

American Academy of Ophthalmology and American Academy of Optometry join the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to promote safe contact lens wear to protect sight


  • newswise-fullscreen Spring Break Travel Advisory: Pack Backup Contact Lens Supplies to Avoid Infections

    Credit: American Academy of Ophthalmology

    Bacterial keratitis is a bacterial infection of the cornea

Newswise — SAN FRANCISCO and ORLANDO – March 4, 2019− Whether you’re headed to Miami, Cabo or just going camping for spring break, pack backup contact lens supplies just in case you lose anything. Studies show teens and young adults sometimes take shortcuts in contact lens care that put them at risk of nasty eye infections[1],[2]. They are significantly more likely to sleep in their contacts, especially after drinking alcohol or when away from home. They are also more likely to shower or swim with them in and not wash their hands before handling them. That’s why the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Optometry are joining the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to offer spring break safety tips so travelers spend their time on the beach, not in the emergency room. 

  • Remember to pack a spare pair of glasses.
  • Headed to the beach or pool? Take out your contact lenses before you jump in to avoid exposing your contact lenses to water.
  • Take your contact lenses out before bed, even if you’re up late!
  • Be sure to bring enough contact lens supplies with you when you travel. Never top off by adding new solution to old.
  • Never wear contact lenses that were not prescribed to you by an eyecare professional, including decorative lenses sold at souvenir shops.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water before handling your contact lenses.
  • Remove the contact lenses and consult your eye doctor immediately if you experience symptoms such as redness, pain, tearing, increased light sensitivity, blurry vision, discharge, or swelling.
  • Visit your eyecare practitioner annually for a comprehensive eye examination.

Contact lenses provide safe and effective vision correction for an estimated 40 million Americans. However, contact lens wearers risk infection if they fail to wear, clean, disinfect, and store their contact lenses as directed. Each year, up to 1 out of every 500 contact lens wearers develop serious eye infections that can lead to blindness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tens of thousands more will develop non-sight threatening infections or inflammation that can be painful and disrupt day-to-day life. Good hygiene, proper contact lens care, and regular follow-up care with your eye care professional are all essential to keeping your eyes healthy.

“Most people don’t think of contact lenses as a medical device, but poor habits can set you up for serious eye infections that can damage vision or even cause blindness,” said Tim Steinemann, M.D., clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “If you experience eye pain, discomfort, redness or blurred vision, remove your contact lenses immediately and call your doctor.”

The CDC has several resources to help you spread the word about contact lens safety this spring including sample social media graphics. 

 

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has a one-minute animated video outlining eight steps to protect your sight from contact lens infection.

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21527379

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24445722

 

 

 

About the American Academy of Ophthalmology

The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. As a global community of 32,000 medical doctors, we protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public. We innovate to advance our profession and to ensure the delivery of the highest-quality eye care. For more information, visit aao.org.

 

About the American Academy of Optometry

The American Academy of Optometry promotes excellence in optometric practice by fostering research and disseminating knowledge in vision science through its journal, Optometry and Vision Science, and the continuing education presented at its annual meeting. Fellows of the Academy are committed to the premise that learning is a lifelong obligation of a professional, as is the commitment to expand the profession’s knowledge base through ongoing fellowship and exchange. For more information, visit aaopt.org.

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