The AP (11/14, Stobbe) reports that a report released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report claims that “sloppy care of contact lenses is the main reason for hundreds of thousands of eye infections” annually. The CDC “estimates that there are nearly one million patient visits to doctor’s offices, clinics, and hospitals for treatment of an infection of the cornea called keratitis.”
The Washington Post (11/14, Phillip, 4.9M) “To Your Health” blog quotes medical epidemiologist Jennifer Cope, MD, MPH, of the CDC, who said, “People who wear contact lenses overnight are more than 20 times more likely to get keratitis.” She added, “Wearing contacts and not taking care of them properly is the single biggest risk factor for keratitis.”
The Boston Globe (11/14, Kotz, 1.78M) “Daily Dose” blog reports that the CDC report pointed out that “$175 million annually” is spent “in medical costs for diagnostic exams and treatments for keratitis.” Most of the time, “keratitis can be easily treated with prescription antimicrobial eye drops or creams,” but severe, untreated infections may lead to corneal scarring and even blindness.
HealthDay (11/14, Reinberg, 5K) reports that “for the report, CDC researchers analyzed three national databases of outpatient care centers and emergency” departments. Investigators then “estimated that each year there are some 930,000 visits to doctors’ offices and outpatient clinics and 58,000 emergency room visits for eye infections.” HealthDay also provides a list of commonsense contact lens care tips.
Medscape (11/14, Brooks, 215K) reports that the report’s results were published “ahead of the first annual Contact Lens Health Week, which runs from November 17 to 21.” The NPR (11/14, Shute, 2.22M) “Shots” blog and the NBC News (11/14, Fox, 3.76M) website also cover the story.