SATURDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Most contact lens users know about potential complications and believe they follow all the recommended wear and care guidelines, but few actually do, according to new research.

The study included 281 patients who visited eye care practitioners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas and 152 who went to a university eye clinic. Many patients could name a complication related to contact lens use -- 58 percent in the general community and 91 percent at the university clinic.

The most commonly named complications were related to lens comfort/handling and infections, said the researchers, Dr. Danielle Robertson and Dr. H. Dwight Cavanagh of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

The majority of patients also knew important risk factors for contact lens-related complications such as: topping off instead of replacing contact lens solution; exposing lenses to tap water, including wearing them while showering; and poor hygiene practice, according to the study published in the November issue of the journal Optometry and Vision Science.

Overall, 85 percent of the patients believed they followed recommended contact lens wear and care practices. However, the researchers found that the average patient only performed 50 percent of the recommended wear and care practices, and compliance was rated as good for only 2 percent of the patients.

Only one patient (0.4 percent) was fully compliant with all the recommended contact lens wear and care guidelines.

It is unlikely that further education will change patient behavior, the study authors noted in a journal news release, because most patients already know that failing to follow recommended guidelines can increase their risk of complications.

"New strategies and approaches to effectively modify inherent patient non-compliance are urgently needed," the researchers concluded in the release.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about contact lens safety.