Wearing contact lenses in the shower can increase risk of blindness, says study

Wearing contact lenses in the shower can increase risk of blindness, says study


People who were contact lenses in the shower are at greater risk of losing their eyesight, according to a new study.

The research reportedly found that people who wear their lenses while showering are seven times more likely to develop an eyesight-threatening infection.

Researchers at the University of Southampton found that showering every day in lenses was the most ‘significant risk factor’ for developing contact lens-related microbial keratitis (CLMK).

This was said to have been followed by sleeping in lenses, and it also claimed those aged between 25 and 54 were most likely to be affected.

According to the research just under half of the patients studied suffered some form of vision loss due to an infection.

Young woman taking a shower
Showering while wearing contact lenses was a risk factor in eye problems

The scientific study, reported in the Daily Telegraph, was published in the journal BMJ Open Ophthalmology.

It looked at the hygiene habits of 78 contact lens wearers, 37 of which had suffered with CLMK and 41 had not.

The research was said to have discovered that showering in lenses increased the CLMK risk by up to three times.

But if showering each day the risk factor was said to be seven-fold.

It was also increased by three times for people who slept in their lenses during the day.

The research said that just under 50 per cent of patients had suffered some type of vision loss due to infection, and 70 per cent said it had impacted on their life.

Parwez Hossain, associate professor of ophthalmology at the University of Southampton and study lead, said the condition led to permanent eyesight problems.

He said: “Contact lenses for visual correction offer many benefits, yet contact lens related microbial keratitis is a frequent cause of permanent visual impairment and some cases may even need a corneal transplant or lead to loss of the eye.

“Poor contact lens hygiene is a known contributor to infection, with 66 per cent of complications attributed to poor hygiene practices.”

He added that it was “concerning” many who were questioned could not recall or were unsure if they were informed of the risks, when nearly 90 per cent got their lenses from an optician.

Microbial Keratitis is an infection that affects the cornea, the transparent layer at the front of the eye.

Corneal infections are commonly associated with wearing contact lenses and they range from mild to severe.

Symptoms include pain to the eye, light sensitivity and blurred vision.

Risk factors for the condition include not washing hands, sleeping with lenses still in and showering or swimming while wearing lenses.


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Robert Swift

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