Don’t be blind to the risks of contacts!
Wearing reusable contact lenses could lead to a rare infection that causes vision loss, according to revealing new research.
People who wear multi-use lenses are nearly four times more likely to develop a corneal infection that causes blindness than people who wear disposable lenses, according to research published in the journal Ophthalmology.
Researchers at University College London found that reusing lenses and wearing them overnight or in the shower increases the risk of contracting the condition, known as acanthamoeba keratitis.
“In recent years, we have seen an increase in acanthamoeba keratitis in the UK and Europe, and although the infection is still rare, it is preventable and warrants a public health response,” lead author of the study told Medical News. study, Professor John Dart.
During the study, the researchers recruited more than 200 patients from London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital, including 83 people who had corneal infections, and compared them with 122 participants who attended the clinics with other conditions.
They found that people who wore reusable soft contact lenses were 3.8 times more likely to develop acanthamoeba keratitis, compared to those who wore daily disposable lenses.
The researchers concluded that approximately 30-62% of eye infections in the UK could be prevented if people switched from reusable lenses to daily disposables.
Overall, acanthamoeba keratitis, which causes the eye to become painful and inflamed, is responsible for about half of contact lens wearers developing vision loss, according to the researchers.
The researchers said that the use of contact lenses is the no. 1 cause of corneal infection in patients with otherwise healthy eyes in Northern Hemisphere countries.
The ailment can be prevented by making sure your contact lens case is filled with fresh solution every time you open it and that you don’t sleep in your contacts, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Although acanthamoeba keratitis is rare, it accounts for about half of contact lens wearers who develop vision loss after an infection of the cornea.
“Contact lenses are generally very safe, but they are associated with a small risk,” Dart said. “Given that approximately 300 million people worldwide wear contact lenses, it is important that people know how to minimize the risks of developing keratitis.”