There is a risk of corneal inflammation
Daily The Independent writes that the study identified several factors that increase the risk of acanthamoebic keratitis. This is a type of infection of the cornea that leads to its inflammation. Not only the use of lenses should contribute to it, but also repeated wearing during the night or in the shower. Up to sixty-two percent of cases of the disease could be prevented if people used daily contact lenses.
“In recent years we have seen an increase in the incidence of acanthamoebic keratitis in the UK and Europe, and although this infection is still rare, it is good to prevent it. Contact lenses are very safe, but are associated with a small risk of microbial keratitis, which is generally caused by bacteria,” said lead study author Professor John Dart from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London.
According to the expert, it is important that as many as possible of the three hundred million people who wear contact lenses know how to minimize the risk of developing the disease.
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The disease is responsible for about half of the vision loss after corneal inflammation in people who wear contact lenses. But the infection itself is relatively rare, affecting one in twenty thousand lens wearers in Great Britain. A quarter of those who already fall ill require a corneal transplant for treatment.
Wearing it at night and in the shower is also dangerous
Scientists in a study published in the journal Ophthalmology studied more than two hundred patients, including eighty-three people with acanthamoeba keratitis from London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital. The results of the study indicate that the repeated use of contact lenses means an almost four times greater incidence of the mentioned disease than when wearing disposable ones. The risk is similar for people who sleep with lenses on, and the risk is more than threefold for those who shower with them on.
“Previous studies linked the disease to wearing contact lenses in hot tubs, pools or lakes, and we added showering to them. It was confirmed to us that it is necessary to avoid any water when wearing lenses,” said the co-author of the study, Nicole Carntová.
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Benjamin Bert, an ophthalmologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in California, says they can work when in contact with fluids that potentially contain a pathogen, similar to mushrooms. Placing contact lenses against the surface of the eye gives disease-causing negative organisms more time to penetrate the cornea. “Without wearing lenses, you simply blink and thus remove water with dangerous pathogens from the surface of the eye. This significantly increases the risk of infection,” the expert told the portal Healthline.
Hygiene and storage are important
Contact lens packaging should warn of this risk. According to expert John Dart, a sticker saying that the clogs should not be worn in water should suffice. Hygienic measures are also important to prevent infections, including thorough hand washing and drying before putting on lenses. Experts also point to proper storage of lenses and throwing them away if they become dry.
Kathryn Colby, chair of the department of ophthalmology at the Grossman School of Medicine in New York, also said that anyone who wears contact lenses and experiences reduced vision, redness or eye pain should see their eye doctor or other vision specialist.