on Monday, July 16, 2012
Acanthamoeba keratitis is a serious infection of the cornea that is caused by certain strains of a particular type of amoeba called acanthamoeba. Acanthamoeba are single cell organisms commonly found in soil, water (swimming pools, hot tubs, showers, etc.) and the air.
Here are some tips that may decrease the risk of developing acanthamoeba keratitis for contact lens wearers.
- Don’t use tap water when cleaning or rinsing your contact lenses or case
- Don’t ‘top off’ or reuse disinfection solution
- Don’t wear contact lenses in a hot tub, swimming pool, freshwater lakes and rivers, or the shower.
- Wash your hands and dry with a lint free towel prior to inserting or removing your contact lenses
- ALWAYS replace your lenses according to the schedule given to you by your doctor.
- FREQUENTLY replace your contact lens case (at a minimum, cases should be replaced whenever a new bottle of disinfecting solution is opened)
Some symptoms of Acanthamoeba keratitis are:
- Pain – often more pain than would be expected by how the eye looks
- Sensitivity to light
- Decreased vision
- No improvement or symptoms getting worse if already being treated for a corneal infection (as it is difficult to identify acanthamoeba keratitis in its early stages, it is frequently mistaken for and treated as bacterial keratitis)
- Should any of the above symptoms be present, stop wearing your contact lenses and see your eye doctor as soon as possible.
Remember, that by following your doctor’s instructions and properly handling your contact lenses, the risks of acanthamoeba keratitis will be minimal and you can enjoy wearing your contact lenses.