Hygiene of contact lens cases, low replacement despite user awareness of high risks

March 01, 2022

2 minute read


Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial information.

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According to a study published in Optometry and vision science.

“Many contact lens wearers take good care of their contact lenses but further neglect the need to clean and replace their contact lens storage cases,” Genis Cardona, PhD, from the department of optics and optometry at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Spain, Healio told. “Contaminated storage cases can increase the risk of contact lens contamination and, therefore, eye infection and vision loss.”

Cardona and his colleagues administered an ad hoc self-report survey between March 15 and April 30, 2021, to assess contact lens (CL) wearer demographics, user knowledge and compliance with lens storage case and care, type of information received and risk perception. They divided the digital survey into five sections, with an additional question asking participants to rate their overall compliance with storage case maintenance and replacement from one (poor) to five (excellent).

The researchers received 299 questionnaires completed by participants wearing non-daily disposable CLs (median age 24 years; 76.9% female), of whom 68.6% exposed their storage cases to tap water, 26, 4% failed to replace them after 6 months and 19.1% said they never cleaned their suitcases.

The results of the study revealed a high rate of perceived risk associated with poor compliance practices, with two-thirds of respondents reporting receiving specific case management information. The researchers also found that risk perception increased with educational level (P = .02, regarding hand washing; P = .03, regarding case hygiene), years of CL port experience (P .001, concerning hand washing) and in patients who received specific information on the management of LC cases (P = .01, regarding case replacement).

More than 40% of respondents kept their cases on or near sinks in the bathroom, and 26.4% kept their cases inside bathroom cabinets, despite the potential for organizations such as Acanthamoeba to thrive in these locations, “suggesting that these water sources may serve as a microbial source for possible infection,” the authors wrote.

Overall, the findings highlight a disconnect between risk awareness and compliance and support a broader effort to communicate the importance of good hygiene practices to users.

“Although many contact lens wearers do not take proper care of their contact lenses and storage cases, they are generally aware of the need to do so and the possible associated risks,” Cardona told Healio. “It’s unclear why this awareness is not translating into better practice, but we believe that through education and good, consistent communication between vision health practitioners and patients, risk awareness can be further increased, finally crossing a threshold leading to better actual compliance.”

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