December 10, 2014 – Keratitis and Contacts


Anchor lead:  Infections related to contact lenses are a big public health problem, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Over a million people seek an eye care specialist each year because of infections in their eyes due to improper contact lens use, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported.  Neil Bressler, an ophthalmologist at Johns Hopkins, says people usually seek care right away.

Bressler: Most of the time the infections are not serious because as they start they become extremely painful to our eye, and so people are very likely to seek some sort of eye care because of the pain, you can use topical antibiotic drops.  But that’s not always the case, sometimes the pain may not be great enough, sometimes the infection may start right in the center of the surface of the eye, overlying the black pupil.  That could lead to a scar which could lead to permanent vision loss.   :30

Bressler says the most important risk factor for developing infection is overnight use of contacts, so he emphasizes that always removing the lenses before bed is the best strategy for avoiding infection and potential vision loss, irrespective of what type of lens is used.  At Johns  Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.