Last updated on June 6th, 2017 at 11:03 am
Taking proper care of your contact lenses utilizing the lens options your ophthalmologist or optometrist suggests significantly lowers your risk of contact lens-related eye infections. But it’s crucial to know that even with appropriate contact lens care, some risk of eye infections remains. This is especially true of fungal eye infections.
Fungi withstand disinfection by contact lens solutions since they easily form biofilms.
A biofilm is a colony of microorganisms adhering to each other and to a surface, such as a soft contact lens. These microorganisms, which include bacteria in addition to fungi, produce compounds that form a slimy matrix, which assists the microbes stick to each other and to the lens surface area and makes them more resistant to the decontaminating action of contact lens options.
Fungal Infections Associated With ReNu Contact Lens Solution
Often, contact lens-related fungal eye infections can be triggered by issues with contact lens solutions.
In 2006, a significant fungal eye infection break out occurred in the United States. Inning accordance with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- 154 cases of fungal keratitis were confirmed from June 2005 through June 2006 in 33 states.
- 94 percent of these cases were amongst people wearing soft contact lenses.
- About 34 percent of the cases were so severe that they required a cornea transplant.
- People with the eye infection were more than 20 times most likely to have actually used Bausch + Lomb’s ReNu With MoistureLoc contact lens option than other lens care products.
Prior to the break out in America, similar cases of fungal keratitis associated with ReNu with MoistureLoc were documented in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong from late 2005 to early 2006. Fungal eye infections associated with use of the contact lens disinfecting item likewise were found in Europe in 2006.
In May 2006, Bausch + Lomb (Rochester, N.Y.) willingly withdrew ReNu With MoistureLoc items from worldwide markets while examinations of the infections associated with the item continued.
Private investigators figured out that all of the cases of fungal eye infections seemed connected to ReNu With MoitureLoc that was produced at Bausch + Lomb’s Greenville, S.C., producing facility. However the CDC discovered no fungal contamination of unopened bottles of the contact lens solution produced at the plant.
FDA inspections of the center, however, identified that Bausch + Lomb cannot preserve sufficient temperature control in the production, storage and transport of Renu With MoistureLoc produced at the Greenville plant.
Later on, scientists said ReNu With MoistureLoc showed a substantially higher loss of disinfecting capability than other contact lens options when exposed to elevated temperature levels for prolonged durations.
In June 2009, news reports showed that Bausch + Lomb had settled about 600 suits associated to the break out of fungal eye infections connected with the contact lens solution and paid roughly $250 million in settlements.
Break outs Of Eye Infections Lead To Call For Higher Standards
Following the outbreak of fungal keratitis related to ReNu With MoistureLoc, another break out of a serious contact lens-related infection happened.
In May 2007, Advanced Medical Optics (now Abbott Medical Optics) announced the company was withdrawing its Complete MoisturePlus contact lens service from the marketplace because of a possible association with the advancement of a potentially blinding eye infection called Acanthamoeba keratitis.
Based on these outbreaks, a panel of eye care experts advising the FDA recommended that the agency embrace stricter guidelines for the testing of contact lenses and contact lens options. The panel also recommended the company to establish standardized lens care guidelines for customers.
In particular, the panel advised that contact lens care products should consist of a strong warning versus reusing or “topping off” options, and that customers should be advised not to use faucet water to wash their lenses or contact lens storage cases.
Fungal Eye Infection Symptoms
The source of the 2005-2006 outbreak of fungal eye infections was the Fusarium fungus, which is found in soil, water and raw material, consisting of plants.
Individuals who look for medical aid early are less most likely to have long-term eye damage from fungal eye infections.
Ordinarily, it is unusual for this fungus to invade and harm the eye. However when this type of fungal eye infection does occur, it can be extremely challenging to treat. Some people with comprehensive eye damage may even need a corneal transplant. Early medical diagnosis and treatment is vital for successful treatment of fungal keratitis.
If you suspect you have a fungal eye infection, see your eye doctor instantly. Symptoms of fungal keratitis eye infection include:
- Eye irritation, eye discharge, swelling, pain, tearing and/or red eyes
- Clouding of the eye’s surface
- Blurring and vision loss
- Light sensitivity (photophobia)
People who look for medical assistance early are less likely to have long-term eye damage from fungal eye infections.
How To Prevent Fungal Eye Infections
Here are a few tips recommended by eye doctors to minimize your risk of contact lens-related eye infections, including fungal keratitis:
- Wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling your contact lenses.
- Rinse your contact lens storage case with fresh contact lens option and let it air dry in between uses.
- Replace your contact lens storage case every three months, or as recommended by your eye doctor.
- Never “complement” old contact lens service with new solution. Throw away the old service totally, clean the contact lens case and use fresh solution.
- Use contact lenses only inning accordance with schedules laid out by your optometrist and contact lens maker.
Likewise, the American Optometric Association and the FDA advise that you rub your contact lenses when rinsing them with sanitizing solution, even when utilizing a “no-rub” item.