SEATTLE – During Contact Lens Health Week, scheduled for Aug. 24 to Aug. 28, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will promote contact lens wear and care recommendations, according to a CDC representative here at Optometry’s Meeting.
Maya Rao, MPH, a CDC health communications specialist, told the American Optometric Association’s House of Delegates on Thursday that in the wake of the multistate microbial keratitis (MK) outbreaks over the last 5 to 10 years, MK rates have not returned to pre-outbreak levels.
“There are improper hygiene indicators that put contact lens wearers at risk,” Rao said. “There’s a high level of noncompliance with wear and care recommendations. Conflicting messages are a major issue that CDC would like to address to prevent infections.”
Rao said this year’s campaign theme is: “Healthy habits means healthy eyes.”
“Our vision is that this improved compliance will lead to a reduced burden of complications,” she said.
The CDC has 37 partners in its effort, including representatives from government, industry, nonprofits and clinical centers, Rao said. The CDC has a dedicated project team, and an external workgroup of clinicians have played a key role in recommendation development and establishing other partnerships.
The website CDC.gov/contactlenses provides consumer information, including recommendations, the science behind those recommendations, the benefits of contact lenses and risks of improper wear and care. Contact lens promotion materials for clinicians and schools are also available on the website.
Rao said the target audience for this year’s campaign is teenage contact lens wearers, and the dates for Contact Lens Week were chosen to coincide with other back-to-school initiatives.
“This is an ongoing effort,” she said. “We want to promote wear and care recommendations throughout the year.”
She urged optometrists to get involved by promoting Contact Lens Health Week on social media with #OnePairTakeCare. – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO
Disclosure: Rao is a health communications specialist with the CDC.