CDC at Work: Contact Lenses

CDC Contact Lenses Workgroup members Rick Weisbarth, OD, and Tim Steinemann, MD, at the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists 2014 Global Symposium.

Subject matter experts, Rick Weisbarth, OD, and Tim Steinemann, MD, at the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists 2014 Global Symposium.

Research following outbreaks of rare but serious eye infections in the U.S. showed that these types of infections that can lead to blindness occur most often in contact lens wearers who do not take proper care of their contact lenses and cases. This finding signaled to CDC, the contact lens industry, health care providers, and other government and academic partners that action needed to be taken to promote safer contact lens wear and care, and address contact lens hygiene—to prevent serious eye infections, as well as other complications that can cause eye pain and discomfort.

CDC Healthy Contact Lenses Program

CDC worked with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), eye care providers, contact lens and product manufacturers, and academic partners to develop messages about the healthy wear and care of contact lenses. These messages were incorporated into web content, health education materials, and other efforts to raise awareness about this issue.

We continue to work toward our goal of helping contact lens wearers reap the benefits of good vision and an active lifestyle while avoiding potentially serious eye infections and other complications. This project was supported by a gift from the Contact Lens Institute.


Proper hygiene and adherence to contact lens replacement schedules and care recommendations, resulting in reduced eye infections and complications among contact lens wearers.


To maximize the benefits of contact lens wear and increase awareness of behaviors and risk factors that can affect the eye health of contact lens wearers in the United States through clear and consistent recommendations about proper wear, care, and maintenance of contact lenses.

Subject Matter Expertise

CDC consults individually with leading eye health experts in the U.S. across multiple sectors when developing the Healthy Contact Lenses Program and would like to thank these individuals for their feedback:

  • Robin Chalmers, OD, FAAO – Contact Lens Assessment in Youth Study, Atlanta, GA
  • Cristina M. Schnider, OD, MBA, FAAO – VISTAKON® Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., Jacksonville, FL
  • Joseph P. Shovlin, OD, FAAO – Northeastern Eye Institute, Scranton, PA
  • Thomas L. Steinemann, MD – Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH
  • Michelle Tarver, MD, PhD – U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Washington, D.C.
  • Jeffrey J. Walline, OD, PhD, FAAO – The Ohio State University College of Optometry, Columbus, OH
  • Michael A. Ward, MMSc, FAAO – Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
  • Rick Weisbarth, OD, FAAO – Alcon Laboratories, Fort Worth, TX


Experts across CDC in parasitic, fungal, bacterial, viral, and chronic diseases, as well as other issues relating to eye health, also provided content and direction for this program.

Professional Organizations

CDC has also partnered with the following organizations: