What You Need To Know About Contact Lenses and Acanthamoeba Keratitis
It's summertime in New England and most people are savoring the remaining days of this season’s magnificent weather. But for a contact lens wearer, enjoying the opportunities that come with our beautiful climate and outside activities can have its “complications.” For these people, proper contact lens hygiene and lens wear can make all the difference for a summer filled with fun or a season saddled with eye doctor appointments and group participation from the sidelines. Be mindful of actions that could put your eye health at risk. Let the team from New England Eye, Lasik and Advanced Cataract Center, help make 2015 a memorable year free from eye hazards and infections! Let’s start by learning about a condition caused by a little parasite named “Acanthamoeba.”
Have you ever heard of a parasite called Acanthamoeba?
Acanthamoeba are tiny amoeba found in water sources such as well water, hot tubs, soils and sewage systems. Given the opportunity, these little parasites can infect the eye and leave a person with a serious eye condition call Acanthamoeba Keratitis. If not treated promptly, Acanthamoeba Keratitis can cause permanent vision loss, and in more severe cases, a corneal transplant.
You are probably wondering how anyone could contract Acanthamoeba. It’s really not that difficult. By using contaminated tap or well water, homemade solutions to store and clean contact lenses, wearing your lenses in a hot tub or swimming or showering while wearing lenses, you can be putting your eyes at risk.
What can I do to prevent infection and reduce exposure to this parasite?
Proper contact lens care will greatly reduce your chances of contracting contact lens related infections. It’s important to always follow the lens care, handling and the wearing instructions provided by your eye care provider. Good hygiene during contact lens use and lens handling is always a priority. Click here to learn ways to reduce the risk of contracting a sight threatening eye infection.
What are some of the symptoms of Acanthamoeba?
How will I know if I need to contact my eye care provider? While some symptoms of Acanthamoeba may mirror those of other infections like “pink eye,” you should contact your eye care provider if you are experiencing any of the following: red eyes and pain after removing your contact lenses, tearing, light sensitivity, blurred vision and the feeling that something is in your eye. When in doubt, never be afraid to contact your Optometrist or Ophthalmologist. Prevention is the best medicine.
What are my alternatives to contact lenses?
Glasses are the safest vision correction alternative for people who are visually handicapped, but they may not always be the most suitable solution. For participation in certain outdoor activities or for those people mandated by their job to have an assured visual acuity, glasses may not be the best option. While contact lenses can be an easy solution, many people will eventually become contact lens intolerant, experiencing increasingly dry eyes, corneal ulcers, abrasions and chronic eye infections. For these people, or those who need permanent correction for occupational requirements, a variety of surgical alternatives such as LASIK, PRK, Visian ICL and Advanced Lenses for Cataract Surgery can be a worthwhile option. When the time is right, contact our refractive team at New England Eye Center and schedule a complimentary screening to learn more about your options. Call 1-617-636-1055 and Laurie will help you schedule the appropriate appointment.