When I was a kid, I remember my mother always harping on me to develop the good habit of frequent handwashing. And, while mom was not a microbiologist, there is a lot of scientific evidence to support how important handwashing is to our daily lives. Certainly, this is the case with contact lens wearers.
In our practice, we are always stressing the importance of proper contact lens care, and a recent study shows that handwashing prior to lens handling is an extremely important part of reducing risks for bacterial infections in contact lens wearers.
In a 2007 research poster by Ralph Stone, PhD., scientists compared contact lenses that had been handled without handwashing to contact lenses that were handled after handwashing. They analyzed the lenses for bacteria and they found that lenses that were handled without handwashing contained, on average, nearly 10,000 bacterial colony-forming-units or CFUs. However, lenses that were handled after handwashing only yielded an average of 2140 CFUs. That's nearly a 80% reduction in the amount of bacteria on a contact lens, just by washing hands prior to lens handling!
That is quite a difference and it really shows how important handwashing is to overall contact lens care. Looks like mothers do know best.
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