Improper use and care of contact lens lead many Americans to the doctors' clinic and emergency rooms with complaints of eye infection.
"People who wear contact lenses overnight are more than 20 times more likely to get keratitis," said Jennifer Cope, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC. "Wearing contacts and not taking care of them properly is the single biggest risk factor for keratitis."
In keratitis, bacteria affect the cornea. And the infection can lead to pain, inflammation and scarring of the cornea. It can also result in blindness.
Contact lenses are medical devices and they should be treated with utmost care and over time they can become contaminated.
The CDC estimates that the cost of a doctor's visit for keratitis is about $151. The CDC has come up with certain guidelines to take care of the lens and be protected from infection.
Those who wear contacts should wash their hands properly and dry them before putting in or removing lenses. Lenses should never come into contact with water of any type, including showers. Acanthamoeba organisms in water can affect contact lenses and cause ulcers in the cornea. Lenses should also be removed before swimming.
Saliva should never be used for contact lenses. One should not use eyeliner and mascara when wearing lenses.
People with rigid lenses should change their cases at least every three months. The old solution meant for cleaning lens should not be mixed with new.
One should remove the lens if the eyes hurt or become red or blurry and should visit a doctor.
Those using lens should always see an optician regularly.