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Winter brings flu, eye infections

POSTED: January 17, 2008 5:02 a.m.
Whether it’s the low temperature and humidity facilitating the spread of viruses, or the fact that people spend more time cooped up together indoors, winter is the season for colds and flu. Experts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Optometry advise those who catch a virus to avoid wearing contact lenses.
“Many people don’t realize that their eyes function differently when they’re sick,” said William “Joe” Benjamin, Ph.D., professor of optometry at UAB. “Tear production is altered, and eyes tend to get very dry. People may develop pink eye, conjunctivitis or other eye infections. The cornea can swell. Contacts can aggravate these symptoms.”
Benjamin says people who are sick should stick to glasses. For those who must wear contacts, they should make sure to clean them thoroughly or, if possible, switch to daily wear lenses to avoid infection. Even taking contacts out to let eyes recuperate during the day can be beneficial.
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