During a 24 month study of 100 hospitals contact lenses accounted for 23% of
medical device related emergency room visits involving children.
In a study published online this week in the journal Pediatrics entitled “Emergency Department Visits for Medical Device-Associated Adverse Events Among Children” it was found that 23% of the medical device related emergency room visits involving children from birth to 21 years of age were contact lens related, this is in contrast to the next closest category, injuries due to a puncture by a hypodermic needle, which placed a distant second at 8%. An additional noteworthy finding was that an another 6% of the ER visits involved lacerations caused by eyeglasses.
The study did not outline how the children were using their contact lenses. Were they caring for and cleaning them properly? Did they discard the lenses according to the replacement interval prescribed by their doctor and what type of contact lenses were involved in the study? The injuries incurred while wearing eyeglasses did not specify the type of activity the child was participating in when the incident occurred.
Contact lenses are medical devices and as such require a prescription from an eye doctor with professional fitting and followup. In clinical practice we have found that patients that follow the guidelines below rarely experience contact lens related complications.
- clean and disinfect contact lenses as prescribed by their doctor
- replace contact lenses as scheduled
- have a backup pair of glasses in which you can see well enough to pass a driver’s test and you are willing to be seen wearing in public (the 1980’s style ala Peggy Hill of “King of the Hill” won’t do ;-))
- seek care from an eye doctor yearly
Injuries due to eyeglass lenses and frames was also a significant source of injuries in the study. We must therefore, not forget to provide our children with protective eyewear when they participate in sports. Sports eyewear has come a long way since the days when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar captured his trademark look. Sports eyewear has now become fashionable and safe.