Your Contact Lenses are Filthy

Do you wear contact lenses? According to new data, your eyes are probably cesspools of disgusting ocular germs because you can't be trusted to keep them clean. And that probably irritates the heck out of your optometrist.

NPR reports that Dwight Cavanaugh, a clinical professor of ophthalmology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, conducted a survey of a few hundred contact lens users and found that only 2% of them are following proper lens cleaning procedures for safe contact lens usage. This means that chances are, no matter how sanitary you think your lenses are, you might as well be having your dog lick them clean every morning.

Among the deadly contact sins: solution misuse, which means reusing cleaning solution from the night before rather than replacing it every day, never replacing the contact lens case itself, sleeping in them, or wearing them for longer than recommended without throwing them out. Swimming, showering, or washing your face while wearing contacts is also Very Bad, as it can lead to an amoeba infection that sounds terribly gross. Another survey conducted in the UK found that when people run out of contact lens solution, they're using all sorts of disgusting junk, like limeade and butter.

About 1 in every 7,500 people who wear hard contact lenses will end up with an eye infection, along with about 1 in every 500 wearers of soft contacts. Treatment for an eye infection ranges from a week in glasses and special eye drops to full on surgery.

This has Dr. Cavanaugh expressing a combination of concern and apoplexy, as eye infections do not fuck around. You could go blind! You could end up with a terrible infection! You could need eye surgery! Rest assured that if you end up messing up your eyes enough due to your own negligence, you will require medical care, and while you're receiving it, you will be scolded constantly. It will be like going to the salon after trying to dye your hair yourself, but worse.

Meanwhile, in spite of warnings, dirty contact lens wearers continue to dance around like carefree grasshoppers in an Aesop's fable, ignoring the warnings of the doctor until it's too late and their eyes have transformed from regular eyeballs into horrific puss bombs likely to explode inside their sockets.

Dirty Little Secret: Almost Nobody Cleans Contacts Properly [NPR]