Last updated on June 6th, 2017 at 05:49 pm
Acanthamoeba eye infections in contact lens users are uncommon but severe, and they typically start since of incorrect lens handling and poor hygiene. To prevent Acanthamoeba keratitis, be sure to thoroughly follow the lens care, handling and using instructions you receive from your eye doctor.
Correct contact lens care considerably decreases the risk of all contact lens-related eye infections, consisting of those brought on by Acanthamoeba.
Prevention is constantly the best method, due to the fact that Acanthamoeba keratitis can be exceptionally hard to treat; in truth, often these infections need a corneal transplant, which is a serious surgery.
What Are Acanthamoeba?
Acanthamoeba are naturally happening amoeba (tiny, one-celled animals) commonly found in water sources, such as faucet water, well water, jacuzzis, and soil and sewer system.
If these tiny parasites contaminate the eye, Acanthamoeba keratitis results. The condition was first identified in 1973, with about 90 percent of cases involving contact lens users.
Acanthamoeba Outbreaks Among Contact Lens Wearers
In recent years, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other researchers have actually noted erratic break outs of Acanthamoeba keratitis cases among contact lens users.
For example, in 2007 the CDC released a number of public health cautions concerning Acanthamoeba keratitis associated with use of the contact lens service Complete MoisturePlus, made by Abbott Medical Optics (AMO) — formerly Advanced Medical Optics.
The CDC stated a sevenfold boost in the risk of developing Acanthamoeba keratitis related to use of the contact lens service triggered AMO to withdraw Complete MoisturePlus from the market. The contact lens option itself was not infected, however it appeared to be ineffective in preventing Acanthamoeba keratitis.
The CDC has actually released comparable cautions worrying fungal eye infections connected with the use of Bausch + Lomb’s ReNu With MoistureLoc contact lens service, which was removed from worldwide markets in May 2006.
What Causes Acanthamoeba Keratitis?
Elements and activities that increase the risk of contracting Acanthamoeba keratitis consist of using contaminated tap or well water on contact lenses, utilizing homemade options to shop and clean contacts, using contact lenses in a jacuzzi and swimming or showering while using lenses.
A dirty lens case also can be a source of Acanthamoeba infection.
In addition, some scientists theorize that new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines targeted at reducing carcinogenic (possibly cancer-causing) products such as disinfectants in the water system may have accidentally enhanced microbial threats, including an increased likelihood of discovering Acanthamoeba in water materials.
Other scientists associate recent boosts in contact lens-related eye infections with the introduction of “no-rub” lens care systems that may result in less reliable contact lens cleaning and disinfection.
But no matter the reason for the boost, Acanthamoeba can be eliminated easily, specifically when rubbed off the lens surface during cleaning. In the end, great contact lens health is the best way to prevent Acanthamoeba keratitis.
How Do You Know if You Have Acanthamoeba Keratitis?
Symptoms of Acanthamoeba keratitis consist of red eyes and eye pain after removing your contact lenses, along with tearing, light sensitivity, blurred vision and a feeling that something remains in your eye.
With these types of symptoms, you should always contact your eye doctor. But remember that Acanthamoeba keratitis is often difficult for your eye doctor to identify at first, since its symptoms resemble pink eye symptoms and those of other eye infections.
Medical diagnosis of keratitis often occurs once it is figured out that the condition is resistant to antibiotics used to manage other infections. A “ring-like” ulceration of your corneal tissue might also happen.
Sadly, if not immediately dealt with, Acanthamoeba keratitis can cause long-term vision loss or need a corneal transplant to recover lost vision.
How Can You Reduce the Risk of Getting Acanthamoeba Keratitis?
There are a number of simple methods to significantly reduce the possibility of getting this sight-threatening condition — and, in reality, any type of contact lens-related eye infection:
- Follow your eye doctor’s recommendations concerning care of your contact lenses. Use only items that she or he suggests.
- Never use faucet water with your contact lenses. The FDA has actually suggested that contact lenses must not be exposed to water of any kind.
- Do not swim, shower or use a jacuzzi while using contacts. If you do choose to wear your lenses while swimming, wear airtight swim goggles over them.
- Make certain to soak your lenses in fresh sanitizing solution every night. Don’t use a wetting solution or saline option that isn’t meant for disinfection.
- Constantly clean your hands prior to managing your lenses.
- Unless you are wearing non reusable contact lenses that are changed daily, always clean your contacts right away upon elimination, rubbing the lenses under a stream of multipurpose solution — even if utilizing a “no-rub” service — and saving them in a clean case filled with fresh (not “topped off”) multipurpose or disinfecting option.
Take Care of Your Contact Lens Case
Tidiness and appropriate care are equally essential for contact lens cases.
It’s crucial to clean, rinse and air-dry your contact lens case right away after removing your lenses from the case. Discard the old service and rub the inside wells of the case with clean fingers for at least five seconds. Then fill the case with multipurpose option or sterile saline (not tap or bottled water), discard this out, and save the case upside down with the caps off.
As an additional precaution, you may wish to consider sanitizing your empty contact lens case once a week by submerging it in boiling water for a couple of minutes.
Numerous eye doctors likewise state you must dispose of and replace your contact lens case regular monthly or, at a minimum, every three months to assist avoid contamination.
Once again, avoidance is your best defense against Acanthamoeba keratitis. Constantly use excellent hygiene during contact lens use and care. And if you observe any unusual eye symptoms that may indicate an infection, immediately consult your optometrist.