Monday, August 31, 2015

Another Set of One-percenters

I had just gotten off the phone with a medical testing facility that I was scheduled to visit three days later.  I explained that the letter I received in the mail, with attached form to fill out and map, asked that I call them and speak to a technician if I answered “yes” to any of the highlighted questions on the form.  (They were all highlighted.)  Since I had two yeses, I called.  They presented no problem and I thought they would not, but told the tech that I was just following instructions.  She said, “Thank you, you would be surprised how many people don’t even read the letter.”

Then I sat down to check headlines and other sources and found this guidance for the estimated 41 million contact lens users from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  “While contact lenses are usually a safe and effective form of vision correction, they are not entirely risk-free—especially if they are not cared for properly.”  They have a table of about a dozen tips for proper care of contact lenses to avoid eye infection. 

The tips include:
  • ·      Wash your hands with soap and water before touching your contact lenses.
  • ·      Don't sleep in your contact lenses unless prescribed by your eye doctor.
  • ·      Keep water away:  Avoid showering, using a hot tub or swimming.
  • ·      Clean your lenses with disinfecting solution—never water or saliva.
  • ·      Never store them in water.
  • ·      Replace them as recommended by your eye doctor.
  • ·      Replace your contact lens case at least once every three months.
  • ·      Don’t “top off” solution. Use only fresh contact lens disinfecting solution.
  • ·      Visit your eye doctor yearly.
  • ·      Talk to your eye doctor if you having any difficulties.
  • ·       Remove your contact lenses immediately and call your eye doctor if you have eye pain, discomfort, redness, or blurred vision. 

These tips are basic to contact lens maintenance, yet a recent national survey found that more than 99% of the estimated 41 million contact lens wearers in the United States may be engaging in at least one behavior known to increase their risk of eye infections.  Are they so unreasonable or difficult?

Discipline is not just about maintaining an appropriate weight and keeping spending below income.  It’s also about many little things like brushing and flossing, taking precautions to avoid eye infections from contaminated lenses and reading the letter before arriving for the test.  I wonder how much of that 30 minutes I am supposed to arrive early for the test is predicated on the assumption (from experience) that the majority failed to read the letter and didn’t fill out the form.

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