Summer Flooding Causes Concern for Contact Lens Wearers

Jun 10, 2011, 10:00 ET from American Optometric Association

ST. LOUIS, Mo., June 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 solution.
  • 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

SOURCE American Optometric Association