Now for some eye-opening news for contact lens user: Those lenses you rely on to help you see might be altering more than just your vision — they also might be changing the composition of bacteria on the surface of your eyes.

Scientists from the New York University School of Medicine discovered that contact lens wearers’ eye bacteria resembles bacteria found on the skin. The findings raise questions about whether this contributes to a higher risk of eye infections for contact lens users.

“Further research is needed to determine whether the microbiome structure provides less protection from ocular infections,” the study authors wrote in this month’s issue of the journal, mBio.

More than 30 million people wear contact lenses in the United States. And one out of every 500 contact lens wearers suffers from an eye infection annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Though contact lenses are among the safest forms of vision correction, the Minnesota Optometric Association says, users must follow proper care and wearing instructions. Tips from the association include:

• Always wash and dry your hands before handling contact lenses.

• Carefully and regularly clean contact lenses, and do so only with products recommended by your doctor.

• Store lenses in the proper storage case and replace your case every three months or sooner.

• Follow the lens replacement schedule prescribed by your doctor.

• Remove lenses before swimming or entering a hot tub.

• Get regularly scheduled lens and eye examinations.


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