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Preventing Serious Contact Lens Infections
In the September issue of Eye & Contact Lens, Anger, Et al. published an article titled: Acanthamoeba: A Review of Its Potential to Cause Keratitis, Current Lens Care Solution Disinfection Standards and Methodologies, and Strategies to Reduce Patient Risk.
This article discusses the incidence of a serious contact lens infection called Acnthamoeba Keratitis (AK). AK is caused by an organism called a trophozite, which can be found in tap water. The incidence of AK is very low, .00005% fo the 33 million soft contact lens wearers in the US. Although rare, this infection is often difficult to diagnose, and difficult to treat. Patients can at times require corneal transplants.
The key risk factor is a corneal abrasion that is then exposed to the Acanthomeba. The authors stressed that the key to prevention of AK is the education of patients on the proper handling, and cleaning of contact lenses, along with the avoidance of swimming with contact lenses in. Guidelines for municipal water-testing were also discussed.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Use only commercially available contact lens cleaning solutions. Do not rinse contact lenses with tap water. Do not swim with contact lenses in.