Eye Care
Summer Flooding Causes Concern for Contact Lens Wearers
Jun 10, 2011 - 10:23:42 AM

( - ST. LOUIS, Mo., June 10, 2011 -- As the rising flood waters of rivers across the country force people to seek higher ground, the American Optometric Association (AOA) reminds consumers to be vigilant with eye protection and eye care, particularly for contact lens wearers. Flooding causes an increase in the incidence of water-borne pathogens. These pathogens, including amoeba, parasites, bacteria and viruses, can be dangerous to the eye and may lead to infections and other complications - even loss of sight. Doctors of optometry have seen an increase in flood-related eye infections, and believe that these cases will continue to rise in the coming weeks.

Recommendations for contact lens wearers to avoid exposure to flood-related eye infections and complications:

-- Avoid contact with flood waters. If contact cannot be avoided, remove
contact lenses prior to exposure to water. If wearing contact lenses are
unavoidable, wear goggles.
-- Don't assume treated tap water is safe. Avoid using tap water to wash or
store contact lenses or contact lens cases.
-- Always wash and dry hands before touching the eye or handling contact
lenses. Use hand disinfectant frequently.
-- Use only sterile products recommended by your optometrist to clean and
disinfect lenses.
-- Rub and rinse the surface of the contact lens before storing using a
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved contact lens disinfecting
-- Store lenses in the proper lens storage case and replace the case at
least every three months. Clean the case after each use by rubbing each
well for at least 5 seconds, rinse with contact lens disinfecting
solution, then wipe with a clean cloth. Store the case upside down with
caps off between cleanings.
-- Contact lens wearers who regularly sleep in contact lenses as prescribed
should refrain from doing so if exposed to water.
-- Replace lenses using your doctor's prescribed schedule.
-- Never put contact lenses in the mouth or moisten them with saliva, which
is full of bacteria.

About the American Optometric Association (AOA):

The American Optometric Association represents approximately 36,000 doctors of optometry, optometry students and paraoptometric assistants and technicians. Optometrists serve patients in nearly 6,500 communities across the country, and in 3,500 of those communities are the only eye doctors. For more information, visit


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