Misusing contact lenses can result in serious eye damage, CDC says

(FoxNews.com) - Many reported cases of serious eye damage result from misusing contact lenses, including sleeping in them or wearing them beyond their recommended use, a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests.

Between 2005 and 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received reports of 1,075 contact lens-related corneal infections that involved ulcers or keratitis, which is inflammation of the cornea, according to a CDC news release. About 20 percent of these reports involved serious eye damage, but about a quarter of those cases could have been avoided with proper contact lens use.

"Although contact lenses are a safe and effective form of vision correction if worn and cared for as directed, they pose an infection risk to wearers if not worn and cared for properly," researchers wrote in the report, which was published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

About 41 million Americans wear contact lenses, and in 2014, more than 99 percent of patients surveyed reported having at least one behavior that puts them at risk for a contact lens-related eye infection, the CDC noted. Keratitis sends an estimated 1 million patients to clinics and ERs annually, and in 2010 those visits accounted for $175 million in direct health care expenditures, according to the report. Researchers defined serious eye damage as having a central corneal scar, a decrease in vision, or the need of a corneal transplant.

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