Contact: CDC Media Relations
Nearly one million eye infections annually in U.S.
Improper contact lens habits pose major risk for serious infections
Each year, Americans make nearly a million doctor visits for eye infections, resulting in $175 million in direct health care costs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated in the first study of its kind. Keratitis, an infection of the cornea, causes pain and inflammation and can lead to blindness in severe cases. Wearing contact lenses is the largest single risk factor for developing the infection.
CDC analyzed national databases of outpatient care centers and emergency rooms to develop the first national estimates of how much keratitis occurs in the United States. CDC experts found that Americans made an estimated 930,000 visits to doctor’s offices and outpatient clinics and 58,000 emergency room visits annually due to eye infections.
CDC works 24/7 saving lives, protecting people from health threats, and saving money through prevention. Whether these threats are global or domestic, chronic or acute, curable or preventable, natural disaster or deliberate attack, CDC is the nation’s health protection agency.