Where and how do you store your contact lens cases when not in use?
So much time and effort is spent by doctors and patients regarding the proper care of contact lenses themselves that the importance of contact lens cases may get overlooked. However, overlooking the risks associated with contact lens cases could be damaging to your eyes.
A new study from the University of New South Wales in Australia looked at the effect of air-drying contact lens cases in different locations and positions. The results of the study were very interesting and should be considered by every contact lens patient in order to reduce their risk for contact lens case contamination and subsequent eye infection.
The researchers looked at the contamination rates for air-drying contact lens cases face up and face down in four different locations: toilet, bathroom, bedroom, and office. They found that the microbial contamination rate of lens cases air-dried face up was 6 times higher than cases dried face down. Nearly 73% of cases positioned face up were contaminated by bacteria and/or fungi. That contamination would greatly increase a patients risk for serious eye infections and permanent vision loss.
The study also found that when cases were positioned face up, the contamination rate was higher when the cases were located in humid environments (toilet/bathroom) than in drier environments (bedroom/office). Although, when the cases were positioned face down, there was little difference between humid and dry environments.
The big take home message: contact lens cases stored face up pose serious health risks and those risks can be significantly reduced by air drying the cases face down. The bigger take home message: better public awareness is needed regarding the importance of contact lens case hygiene.
As always, I’d love to hear your comments or questions. Give us a shout over on Facebook or on Google+. And, remember, you can now request an appointment for your annual eye exam at our office by clicking here.