contact lens user

The incidence of Acanthamoeba Keratitis is increasing amongst contact lens users.

Contact lenses are medical devices and extra care is necessary to ensure you can enjoy your contact lenses and have happy, healthy eyes.

AK is caused by a free-living amoeba (parasite) that is typically found in soil, bodies of water and even tap water. For the contact lens wearer this presents a risk, as the parasite can get trapped between the eye and the contact lens, creating a viable ‘breeding site.’

Educate yourself
on what you can
and cannot do
with your
contact lenses.
 

 

All of the following can put you at risk: wearing your contacts while showering, bathing or swimming in pools, lakes or the ocean; using tap water to rinse your contact lenses or the case; gardening or taking part in other outdoor activities which might lead to soil entering your eye.

If you are a contact lens wearer experiencing any symptoms that could indicate AK, seek medical attention immediately.

It is essential to inform your doctor of your contact lens use, including any activities involving contact with water or soil. It is crucial that you ask your doctor to rule out AK before starting any medication, particularly corticoids or steroids.

You may experience several of these symptoms:

Eye pain (which can be excruciating – but may be painless in the early stages)
Red eyes
Sensation of something in the eye – foreign body sensation
Blurred, poor vision or total vision loss
Sensitivity to light from mild to extremely high
Excessive tear production
Irritation or grittiness
Headache
Inability to wear contact lenses

Here are some steps you can take:

Do not wait!
Stop wearing contact lenses.
Consult an eye doctor as soon as possible.
Let them know if you are a contact lens user and have been in contact with water.
Take the contact lenses, casing, and solution with you for possible analysis.
If available, advocate for an early confocal scan to confirm the diagnosis. Time is of the essence!

As a contact lens user make sure you are prepared for any eye problems by finding an eye clinic with a good reputation in your area in case of unexpected problems.

By following the do’s and don’ts, you can help ensure that your contact lens wearing experience is a positive one. If you ever experience discomfort or notice any changes in your vision, be sure to contact your optometrist right away.

Remember, taking care of your contact lenses and protecting your eyes from water exposure is essential for maintaining good eye health and vision.

Contact Lens User
Don’ts

Do not let water come in contact with your contact lenses or the case.

Do not shower while wearing your contact lenses.

Do not swim or do any other water sport activity wearing your contact lenses. If you choose to, or have to, please wear tight fitting goggles which will reduce, but not eliminate, the infection risk. You can always order prescribed goggles.

Do not sleep while wearing contact lenses unless specifically told.

Do not touch your contact lenses or case with wet hands (water).

Do not overwear your contact lenses – only wear them as your contact lens practitioner has recommended.

Do not use saliva, tap water or any solution other than the proper specific recommended solution to clean or store your contact lenses.

Do not let the tip of any bottle touch any surface, including your skin, lashes, or fingers; this can cause contamination of the solution.

Do not let anyone touch your contact lenses nor wear them.

 

Contact Lens User
Do’s

Always use the specific solutions and eye drops to care for your eye and contact lenses recommended by your contact lens practitioner.

Wash, rinse and completely dry your hands before you handle your contact lenses.

Clean, rinse and disinfect your contact lenses with solutions each time you take them out.

After removing your lenses from their case, always empty and rinse the case with a recommended solution (not water) and allow it to completely air dry.

Use new fresh solution to store your lenses in – do not ‘top-up’ existing solution that may be in the case.

Replace your contact lens case every 3 months.

Remember to take your solutions and a contact lens case with you whenever you leave home or go on a trip.

Always have a pair of backup glasses with you at all times.

Keep track when you need to replace your contact lenses. (Put a reminder in your diary)

Take your contact lenses out and contact your ophtalmologist if your eye becomes red, irritated, painful or your vision changes. Better be safe than sorry.

If you want to wear makeup – put contact lenses in before applying makeup and take them out before removing makeup.

Remember to have all your routine eye exams at the optometrist and ophthalmologist.