It’s “back to school” time and that means time for new clothes, new school supplies, and new glasses and/or contacts for students. To coincide with this time, the AOA and CDC have partnered together to sponsor the second annual Contact Lens Heath Week from August 24-28. This year’s campaign theme is Heathy habits mean healthy eyes and includes messages and materials for teenage contact lens wearers, their parents, and eye care providers.
30 million plus people in the U.S. successfully wear contact lenses causing many to think they’re risk-free. But the CDC and the AOA want to raise awareness that contact lenses are medical devices, and failure to care for them properly can increase the risk of eye infections. To do that, the campaign emphasize three main health messages:
- Healthy contact lens hygiene habits
- Proper use, care and storage of contact lenses and supplies
- Regular visits to an eye care provider
Educating teens who wear contacts about these important habits and routines will ensure their eyes stay healthy and vision remains clear throughout the school year. If you’re wondering if contact lenses are appropriate for you child, the CDC supports contacts for children so long as they have the support of a parent or other adult. The organization also emphasizes that contact lens wear may improve childrens’ confidence in both social interactions and their ability to participate in athletic activities.
How to get involved
There are many ways to get involved in Contact Lens Health Week: download posters, listen to podcasts, post about it on social media. Be sure to check out the campaign theme for teens–Contact Lenses are Like Underwear. The eye-catching messaging stresses:
- Don’t over-wear. Replace your contacts as often as your eye doctor tells you, and don’t sleep in them unless instructed to by your eye doctor.
- Avoid that sketchy pair. If a contact comes out and you can’t disinfect it with fresh solution (never water or saliva), throw it out. Don’t buy contacts from costume shops or anywhere that doesn’t require a prescription.
- Carry a spare pair (of glasses). If you need to take out your contacts for an unexpected late night or trip to the pool, or if a contact comes out, have a pair of glasses as a backup.