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How do I get bacteria in my eyes?

ANSWER

The "normal" bacteria on our skin, mouth, and nose usually don't cause any harm. However, the combination of excessive bacteria on your contact lenses and any small scrape on your eye (which can happen when you sleep in them) can be very dangerous.

For example, about a third of people have Staphylococcus aureus in their nose. It's easily spread to your eyes by your hands, and it's stubborn and hard to treat. Wash your hands and keep your contacts sterile to avoid an eye infection from it.

SOURCES:

American Academy of Ophthalmology: "Contact Lens-Related Eye Infections," "What Is Bacterial Keratitis?" "Conjunctivitis: What Is Pink Eye?"

Cleveland Clinic: "Conjunctivitis," "Avoid These Eye Infections from Bad Contact Lens Habits."

FDA: "Contact Lens Risks."

University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center: "Allergies of the Eye."

CDC: "Staphylococcus aureus in Healthcare Settings," "Fungal Eye Infection Statistics," "Treatment for Fungal Eye Infections."

American Optometric Association: "Conjunctivitis," "Bacterial Eye Infection Treatment," "Contact Lens-Related Eye Infections," "What Is Bacterial Keratitis?" "What is Fungal Keratitis?"

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Keratitis (Corneal Ulcers)."

All About Vision: "Acanthamoeba Keratitis: What Contact Lens Wearers Need To Know."

Reviewed by Brian S. Boxer Wachler on November 07, 2019

SOURCES:

American Academy of Ophthalmology: "Contact Lens-Related Eye Infections," "What Is Bacterial Keratitis?" "Conjunctivitis: What Is Pink Eye?"

Cleveland Clinic: "Conjunctivitis," "Avoid These Eye Infections from Bad Contact Lens Habits."

FDA: "Contact Lens Risks."

University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center: "Allergies of the Eye."

CDC: "Staphylococcus aureus in Healthcare Settings," "Fungal Eye Infection Statistics," "Treatment for Fungal Eye Infections."

American Optometric Association: "Conjunctivitis," "Bacterial Eye Infection Treatment," "Contact Lens-Related Eye Infections," "What Is Bacterial Keratitis?" "What is Fungal Keratitis?"

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Keratitis (Corneal Ulcers)."

All About Vision: "Acanthamoeba Keratitis: What Contact Lens Wearers Need To Know."

Reviewed by Brian S. Boxer Wachler on November 07, 2019

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