Nearly 40 million Americans wear contact lenses to help improve their vision. But now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published an alarming report about contact lenses that leading ophthalmologists say may be incorrect.
Private organization of board-certified ophthalmologists ask CDC for study’s retraction
In a statement the CDC said, “It estimates that, each year, Americans make nearly a million doctor visits for a type of eye infection called keratitis, at a cost of $175 million in direct healthcare costs.” The study implies contact lens users are the primary reason for these exorbitant numbers.
“This is like saying that anybody that came into the emergency room with a broken bone was riding a bicycle. It doesn’t make any sense at all,” said Guy M. Kezirian MD, MBA, FACS, the founder of the Refractive Surgery Alliance.
The RSA’s primary mission is to provide physician-based education about refractive eye surgery and eye care. He says the CDC report has led to countless and misguided media reports, some like these warning contact lens wearers of the so-called hidden dangers. “We don’t want contact lenses suppressed. We want them to be used correctly; they are a very important technology,” states Kezirian.
RSA says Contact Lenses are Safe
The RSA has sent a letter to CDC chief researcher, Sarah Collier, stating the data used to justify the overall claim, is false and should be retracted. “The fact that they took this large amount of data that was very non-specific, and said ‘contact lenses and particularly irresponsible patients who don’t use their contact lenses correctly are causing all of this cost to the insurers and to the government for medical care,’ was just completely inappropriate and should be retracted,” said Kezirian.
RSA says used correctly, contact lenses are a safe and effective alternative to eyewear and vision correction. While the group has been critical of the inaccurate report, it does encourage the CDC’s efforts to promote contact lens hygiene, but worry the report has done more harm than good.