Bacterial keratitis is an infection of the cornea that plagues many contact lens wearers, due to improper contact lens use. It causes pain, sensitivity to light, reduced vision and tearing or discharge from the eye. Bacterial keratitis is an infection of the eye that usually develops very quickly, and if left untreated can cause blindness. According to federal health officials at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eye infections like keratitis send close to 1 million Americans to the doctor each year. “Contact lenses can provide many benefits, but they are not risk-free – especially if contact lens wearers take shortcuts and don’t take care of their contact lenses and supplies,” said Jennifer Cope, MD MPH, medical epidemiologist at the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Dr. Cope and a number of her colleagues at the CDC analyzed information from three national databases of outpatient care centers and emergency departments from 2010. Here are some of their findings:
• Keratitis affects all age groups, from teens up to seniors. Women are slightly more likely to be affected than men. When it comes to eye problems these visits account for 63% of office visits and about 55% of emergency visits.
• Approximately three quarters of keratitis visits resulted in antimicrobial prescriptions (such as antibiotics).
• Keratitis and contact lens disorders resulted in about $175 million in direct healthcare costs, including $58 million for Medicare patients and $12 million for Medicaid patients, annually. “Among the estimated 38 million contact lens wearers in the United States, poor storage case hygiene, infrequent storage case replacement and overnight lens wear are established preventable risk factors for microbial keratitis, contact lens-related inflammation and other eye complications, “according to Dr. Cope and CDC colleagues.
If you wear contact lenses, why run the risk? Consider LASIK. For more information contact our office at 480-610-1252 to schedule an appointment to see if LASIK is right for you. Visit the website to learn more or to book an appointment online. You can also follow Moretsky Cassidy LASIK on Twitter and like us on Facebook.