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In late July, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a report that found over a two year period, emergency rooms treated more than 33,000 injuries due to contact lenses — making the eye the most frequently injured body part among children due to medical device complications.
When we saw the report and the headlines, we weren’t entirely surprised. Children are one of the fastest growing segments of new contact lens wearers, representing more than 10% of the total population of contact lens wearers. The growing popularity of contacts among children makes sense: Today’s new breed of soft contact lenses are more comfortable than ever and contacts are often an attractive alternative to glasses, especially for active children, ‘tweens and teens.
On the other hand, as the report from The American Academy of Pediatric’s demonstrates, contact lenses and children can also be a recipe for injury, and possibly permanent eye damage or vision loss, if parents aren’t monitoring and supervising the wear, care and replacement of lenses in their children.
According to the data, the most-frequently reported injury diagnoses due to contact lenses were corneal contusions/abrasions, conjunctivitis and hemorrhage. The study also showed that most contact lens complications were the result of non-compliance with the recommended wear and care regimens, as well as replacement schedules.
Misuse of contact lenses in both adults and children can lead to problems such as eye pain, bacterial infections, corneal ulcers, and even permanent vision loss or blindness.
Why so many problems?