Lack of or inadequate hand washing is a risk factor in the development of contact lens related microbial keratitis and corneal inflammatory events. In the public health domain there is compelling evidence that proper hand washing with soap can save lives. The purpose of this review is to draw attention to some of the public health literature in support of hand washing and how education can influence patients' hand hygiene behavior. Contact lens wearers are also guilty of poor hand washing behavior but there is scant evidence that education of hand washing procedures of lens wearers alters patient non-compliance. It is well known that pathogenic microbial contamination of contact lenses, lens cases, care solutions and anterior ocular components have been found with contact lens wear. However while the originating source may be hands or water, it is most likely both of these. Besides proper hand washing this paper will include mitigating strategies for avoiding microbial contamination.
Keywords: Compliance; Contact lens; Corneal inflammatory event; Hand washing; Lens contamination; Microbial keratitis; Risk factor.
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