What Happens If You Don't Clean Contact Lenses Properly?
September 6th, 2018,
The Harmful Damage of Acanthamoeba Keratitis
An eye infection called Acanthamoeba Keratitis can occur in contact lens wearers who don't clean and disinfect on a regular basis.
What Is It
- eye infection that occurs if tiny parasites called acanthamoeba infect the eye (acanthamoeba are naturally occurring amoeba found in water sources, such as tap water, well water, hot tubs, and soil and sewage systems)
- extremely difficult to treat – may require corneal transplant
- using tap water or well water that contains acanthamoeba on contact lens
- using homemade solutions to store and clean contacts
- wearing contacts to a hot tub
- swimming or showering while wearing contact lenses
- dirty lens cases
- not thoroughly cleaning contact lens after removal
- relying entirely on “no-rub” lens care systems and solutions resulting in less effective contact lens cleaning and disinfection
- red eyes and eye pain after removing contact lenses
- continuous tearing
- light sensitivity
- blurred vision
- the feeling that something is always in the eye
Contact your eye doctor immediately if you show any of these symptoms.
If not treated immediately, Acanthamoeba keratitis can cause permanent vision loss or requires a corneal transplant to recover your lost vision.
Reducing the Risk of Contraction
- Follow your eye doctor’s recommendations regarding cleaning your contacts and use the suggested products for your specific contact brand.
- Do not use tap water (or any water) on your contacts.
- Do not wear your contacts swimming, showering or into a hot tub. If you must, wear air-tight goggles.
- Soak your lenses in fresh disinfecting solution every night. Don't use a lubricating or saline solution that isn't intended for disinfecting purposes.
- Wash your hands before touching your contact lenses.
- Unless you use daily disposable contact lenses, always clean your contact lenses immediately after removing them; rub them on your hand with multipurpose solution even if it is a “no-rub” solution, and store them in a clean case with fresh disinfecting or multipurpose solution.
Remember to clean and disinfect your contact lens case as well. A dirty case will increase chances of eye infection.
Always refer to the exact care specifications for your lenses, as printed on the case of your lenses.