The contact lens infection that can steal your sight

If you’re a contact lens wearer, you probably already know that they do come with a risk of eye infections.

However, it’s a risk that most of us ignore expecting that it will never happen to us.

The problem is that, according to a new scientific study, the number of infections experienced by contact lens users is increasing. In fact, there’s a threefold increase in the occurrence of one particularly nasty eye infection known as Acanthamoeba keratitis.

The research performed by University College London discovered that this dangerous infection tripled its victims just since 2011 and while the study was conducted in the U.K., they say the results reflect the risk more broadly.

And, reusable contact lens wearers are most susceptible.

Here’s what you should know…

Acanthamoeba keratitis causes the front surface of your eye, the cornea, to become painful and inflamed, due to the infection.

And, a quarter of people who end up with the infection can experience blindness or be left with less than 25 percent of their vision.

Pretty scary, right?

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Preventing eye infections for contact lens wearers

So, how does it happen? How does your eye get infected when you wear contact lenses?

Well, according to the researchers, the likelihood of the disease is three times greater among people who aren’t stringently following some hygiene habits essential for contact wearers. So, you’re more likely to get it if you:

  • Don’t always wash and dry your hands before handling your lenses
  • Wear your contacts while in swimming pools or hot tubs
  • Wear your lenses while showering or washing your face

That means that if you wear reusable lenses, you need to be vigilant about complying with safety measures to ward off infection.

However, that’s still not foolproof.

You see, a second study found that fungal eye infections are also common, even with proper contact lens care, because those little cases you use to store your lenses can be breeding grounds for fungi. Especially if you use a contact lens solution containing hydrogen peroxide instead of a multi-purpose solution — and if you don’t replace your case on a regular basis.

Here are some things to remember:

  • Remove your lenses before showering, washing your face, swimming or spending time in a hot tub.
  • Make sure your lenses and case are cleaned and disinfected regularly and replace your case often (at least every three months).
  • Never place your contact lenses in your mouth to wet them using saliva.
  • Don’t top off old solution in your lens case. Throw it out and replace it with fresh solution.
  • Put your contact lenses in before applying makeup.
  • Wash hands thoroughly before handling lenses.
  • See your doctor immediately if you experience eye irritation and redness related to your lens use.

And, finally, the researchers say that disposable contact lenses could be the answer to avoiding eye infections since you don’t have to worry about cleaning or storing them and the germs that can come with them.

Your eyes are one of your most valuable resources. Protect your vision from the infections caused by contact lens use using the tips above to see clearly for life.

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  1. Eye infection in contact lens wearers can cause blindness — University College London
  2. Tips For Contact Lens Wearers —
Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

By Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic, with more than 20 years of experience. She has dedicated herself to helping others enjoy life at every age through the use of alternative medicine and natural wellness options. Dr. Schmedthorst enjoys sharing her knowledge with the alternative healthcare community, providing solutions for men and women who are ready to take control of their health the natural way.