Purpose: This study investigated the contact lens care compliance, noncompliance reasons, bacterial contamination rate, and the behaviors associated with contamination among university students in Palestine.
Patients and Methods: 133 Habitual soft contact lens wearers were recruited in this study and interviewed using a face-to-face questionnaire, to obtain data on demographics, contact lenses, modifiable lens care behaviors and the reasons for non-compliance. High, moderate, and low lens care behaviors were identified. Additionally, a sample of the participant’s storage cases was collected for bacterial contamination testing.
Results: The participants’ mean age was 22.4± 4.4, with female predominance (62.4%). The average compliance rate was 76.8%. Total CL care compliance (100%) was found in filling the case with adequate solution, not sharing the lenses or storage case with others, while the poorest compliance (> 40%) was found in attending after-care visits, checking the solution’s expiry, and re-disinfecting the lenses with a fresh solution before insertion after prolonged storage. Poor understanding of the instructions contributed significantly to a low level of compliance (P≤ 0.05). Gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria were detected in 19.55% of the participants’ cases. Poor hand and case hygiene, no replacement of lens cases (monthly), and water exposure were linked to bacterial contamination of storage cases.
Conclusion: This study indicated moderate to high compliance in CL care, averaging 76.8%. Poor compliance was found in attending after-care visits, checking the solution’s expiry, and re-disinfecting the lenses with a fresh solution after an extended storage interval. 19.55% of the cases had bacterial contamination, with Staphylococcus Aureus being the most common. Poor hand and lens case hygiene and water exposure are found to be associated with lens case contamination. These findings emphasize the importance of patient education on safer lens wear modalities, proper wearing schedules, and hygiene regimens to reduce the risks of developing contact lens complications.
Keywords: modifiable-behaviors, hygiene, microbiology, risk factors, attitude