Here’s how to keep your eyes safe from long-term damage.
This article originally appeared on Health.com.
Proper contact lens hygiene is nothing to roll your eyes at: A new government report warns that bad habits (like wearing your lenses to bed) can lead to eye infections and possibly permanent injuries.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examined more than 1,000 cases of contact lens-related infections reported to a federal database over the last decade, and found that nearly 1 in 5 of those infections resulted in eye damage—either a decline in vision, a scarred cornea, or the need for a corneal transplant. Yikes.
But the agency also found that by simply using your contacts the way you’re supposed to, you can protect your peepers: About 25% of the reported cases involved behaviors known to put a person at greater risk of eye infection.
“Contact lenses are a safe and effective form of vision correction when worn and cared for as recommended,” said Michael Beach, PhD, director of the CDC’s Healthy Water Program, in a press release about the survey. “However, improper wear and care of contact lenses can cause eye infections that sometimes lead to serious, long-term damage.”
Below, seven mistakes you might be making, and what to do instead.
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