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 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.’
Showering, bathing, swimming in pools, lakes, ponds, and oceans with your contact lenses in – and rinsing contact lenses or even cases with tap water – can put you at risk.
Educate yourself on what you can and cannot do with your contact lenses.
Always have your routine eye exams and use official products.
If you suspect that you might have AK, it is important to seek medical attention right away.
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
- 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!
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 with your contact lenses in, unless you have been specifically told it is allowed.
- Do not touch your contact lenses or case with wet hands (water).
- Do not over wear 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 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
- Wash, rinse and completely dry your hands before you handle your contact lenses.
- Clean, rinse and disinfect your contact lenses with the specific recommended solutions each time you take them out.
- After removing your lenses from their case always empty and rinse it with a specific recommended solution (not water) and allow it to completely air dry.
- Use new fresh specific recommended solution to store your lenses in – do not ‘top-up’ existing solution that may be in the case.
- Always use the specific solutions and eye drops to care for your eye care and contact lenses recommended by your Contact Lens Practitioner
- Change your contact lens cases every 3 months.
- Always take your recommended solutions and a contact lenses case when you travel.
- Keep track when you need to replace your contact lenses. (Put a reminder in your diary)
- Take your contact lenses out and contact your Contact Lens Practitioner if your eye becomes red, irritated, have pain 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.