FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- They help many of us see, but no one can see them. Millions of Americans wear contact lenses. Now, a few recent studies show almost all of those people are putting their eyes in danger.
Beer: it is how some people clean their contacts. It is what some people admit they've stored their lenses in.
"That's not good. You're playing Russian roulette there," said Sheri McGurk.
Optometrist Sheri McGurk is shocked by the results of a study from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. It claims of the 30 million contact lens wearers in the U.S, 99 percent are doing something wrong. Erika Avery confesses to one of the top offenses.
"I've fallen asleep in them when I shouldn't have," said Erika Avery.
Dr. McGurk says the danger in doing that is you're cutting off oxygen to your eyes, and they can quickly develop infections and bacterial ulcers called pseudomonas.
"Pseudomonas can eat through the cornea in 24 hours," Dr. McGurk explained.
Another study by Bausch and Lomb found 20 percent of contact wearers have stored their lenses in everything from beer to coke, to baby oil. Avery has used tap water.
"I've been guilty of that a few times," Avery admitted.
"Tap water is terrible. There are bacteria, there are chemicals in tap water," Dr. McGurk said.
The bacteria can cause a corneal infection that's resistant to treatment. McGurk says only use contact solution to store and clean your lenses. And if it's irritating your eyes talk to your doctor about switching brands.
"I switched solutions and that stopped happening," Jane Ellis said.
But hair dresser Jane Ellis is guilty of something else. She's been using her two week contacts longer than recommended.
"I know when to change them because they start irritating my eyes," Ellis admitted.
"By the time that we can feel that they feel uncomfortable, we've gone about four or five days too long and there are actually a lot of deposits on there that are blocking the oxygen," Dr. McGurk explained.
If you feel there's anything wrong with yours.
"When in doubt, take them out," Dr. McGurk concluded.
Doctor McGurk says don't just soak your contacts. It's also very important to rub them between you fingers to dislodge any build up and let more oxygen through. Also, make sure to have a pair of backup glasses when your contacts just don't feel right.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Dr. Sheri McGurk
health watch, margot kim
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