Many of us have considered contact lenses at some point in our lives, due to cosmetic reasons, our lifestyle, or convenience. They are fantastic and can greatly improve your life, as long as you ensure you remain diligent with your contact lens routine.
A risk you may face if you aren’t careful is a microbial infection. This is an infection of the cornea, also known as Acanthamoeba keratitis. It occurs mostly in contact lens wearers and is often caused by improper lens handling and poor hygiene. Although this condition is very serious, it is rare, occurring in approximately 3 in 10,000 people.
Acanthamoeba are protozoa, which are extremely tiny one-cell animals. They are commonly found in water, for example, tap water, hot tubs, mud/soil, wells, and sewage systems. Acanthamoeba keratitis occurs when the protozoa infect the eye. In a normal eye, our immune systems can fight the parasites before they cause any problems, but when they are introduced into the eye via a contact lens (usually by tap water on the hands or contact lens/case), the risk of serious infection increases. These parasites are very difficult to kill, so the infection will progress until proper action is taken.
The symptoms of this microbial infection include intense eye pain, watery eyes, extreme photophobia, which is a sensitivity to light which makes opening your eyes near impossible, and loss of vision. If you experience any of these symptoms, please call us immediately, and then go to your local hospital for diagnosis and treatment. Take your lenses and case with you, so they can be tested in the hospital lab to confirm the presence of Acanthamoeba. Act quickly if you suspect you have acanthamoeba keratitis, don’t wait for the condition to worsen or improve before seeking medical attention.
To prevent being infected by this parasite, it is crucial you follow the hygiene routine recommended by your optician. It is also very important you don’t let anything touch your contact lenses and case except your lens solution and your clean dry hands. If you aren’t sure about any part of your contact lens routine or have any questions, don’t be afraid to give us a call! If you are struggling now might be the time to switch to wearing glasses.
It is important to get your eyes tested regularly, to ensure they are as healthy as possible. This will also give you a chance to discuss any worries you have regarding your eye health, contact lenses, hygiene, and more. Call us on 0203 418 8488 or visit our website at http://www.communitycareopticians.co.uk