Before you take your next shower, you need to read this story; especially if you shower wearing contact lenses.

A rare disease called Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) is causing blindness in people who wear contact lenses and don’t follow proper procedures.  AK is an amoebae that invades the cornea of the eye, resembling an ulcer. It affects roughly 1.2 to 3 million people per year.

The culprit is a parasitic bug that is lurking in water and soil that can destroy your eye and leave you blind.  Many, who have contracted this disease, have either showered in water that contains the parasite, or used ineffective contact lens solution, or practice poor contact lens hygiene.  

Symptoms of AK include the following:

1.       Sensitivity to light and excessive tearing

2.       Blurred vision with eye redness and pain

3.       Sensations of having something in your eye

4.       Severe headaches.

And if this is not enough to scare you, aside from possible blindness the pain is excruciating. However, prevention is the key to ensuring healthy eyes.

Here are some simple ways to prevent yourself from getting this disease.

1.       Do not contaminate lenses or lens cases with water

2.       Avoid swimming while wearing lenses, if you have to make sure you wear tight fitting googles and replace daily disposables after activity or disinfect reusable lenses.

3.       Wash and dry hands before manipulating lenses

4.       Avoid showering or bathing in lenses

5.       For reusable lens wearers, do not “top up” solution and replace case at least monthly.

It is so important to ensure that you take care of your eye health when using contact lenses. Aside from AK, contact lenses can cause other issues if you are not practicing proper eye care. Corneal ulcers are more typical, and can leave permanent scars on the surface of the cornea.

Your eyes, also need oxygen, so it’s important to give them a break. Lack of oxygen can cause the blood vessels to form in an attempt to supply oxygen and nutrients, which then could can cause obscure vision.

Finally, with hot summer weather, more people will be spending their time in the pool. Parasites and other organisms tend to lurk in swimming pools. Contact lenses-in addition to being on the eye-is like a big sponge, and it allows organisms to sit on the eye and flourish.

Concerned about how to properly care for your contact lens, please visit us at Orangeville Opticians to review proper care techniques. You only get one set of eyes, and we care about them.