Regular use of contact lenses while showering can increase the risk of developing a dangerous eye infection by 7 times, according to scientists from the University of Southampton.
They also found that wearing contact lenses while sleeping can triple the risk of eye infections.
According to The Daily Mail, the authors of the study studied the habits of 78 people who wear lenses, wanting to find out the risk factors for developing bacterial keratitis. This is an inflammatory disease of the cornea of bacterial origin, which is characterized by clouding of the cornea, as well as deterioration of vision.
Bacterial keratitis associated with contact lenses is a common cause of permanent visual impairment and loss of vision, and in some cases, a corneal transplant may even be required.
As part of the study, out of 78 respondents, 37 people had previously developed bacterial keratitis. Volunteers talked about the types of lenses they used, how long they wore them, hygiene habits, and whether they had ever slept or had a shower with the lenses.
Refusal to remove lenses in the shower was found to be the main cause of infection, with keratitis increasing 7-fold for those who shower daily. Showers can be a breeding ground for bacteria that eventually spread under the surface of contact lenses. Scientists also found that people who slept in lenses, thereby depriving the cornea of oxygen and the ability to recover. As a result, the risk of keratitis increased by 3 times. Age has also been found to be a risk factor - people between the ages of 25 and 39 are at greatest risk.