If you wear contact lenses, you know how convenient and comfortable they can be, but convenience should never come at the expense of your eye health.
While contacts have an excellent safety record, improper handling of your contact lenses can result in eye infections that, in some cases, can threaten your vision.
That's why it's so important to take proper care of your contacts. Always wash your hands before handling them, and clean them according to your eye doctor's instructions. Be sure to disinfect them regularly, and never share them with others.
If you think you may have an eye infection, contact your eye doctor at Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses in Albuquerque. Eye infections can lead to serious eye complications, so don't take any chances!
Signs of an Eye Infection From Contact Lenses
The most common symptoms of a contact lens-related infections are:
- Blurry vision
- Redness around the eye area
- Pain in and around the eye
- Discharge or unusually watery eyes
- Sensitivity to bright light
- A sensation of having something in the eye that won't go away
Eye infections caused by contact lenses, such as Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK), can result in vision loss or even blindness. If you have any of these signs, it is critical that you see your eye doctor as soon as possible.
Acanthamoeba Keratitis: An Uncommon, Yet Serious Eye Condition
Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) is a rare but serious eye infection that can cause long-term vision damage. It’s a microscopic, free-living amoeba that lives in freshwater, swimming pools, hot tubs, seawater and the domestic water supply.
Recent studies found that people who wear reusable contact lenses are nearly 4 times more likely to develop AK than those who wear daily disposable lenses that are thrown away after each use.
The infection leads to pain and inflammation of the front surface of the eye (cornea) and can result in vision loss. In severe cases, patients may require a corneal transplant to restore their sight.
Because Acanthamoeba keratitis symptoms closely mirror those of other, more common eye infections (such as conjunctivitis/pink eye), it’s important that they be examined by your eye doctor at the first sign of an eye infection.
How to Avoid Eye Infections
To help prevent eye infections:
- Always wear and replace your contact lenses according to the schedule your eye doctor prescribes.
- Before showering or swimming, make sure to remove your contact lenses.
- Before handling your contact lenses, wash your hands with soap and water and dry them with a lint-free towel or paper towel.
- Thoroughly clean your contacts every day, using only the methods recommended by your eye doctor.
- Never reuse or top off used lens solution. Each time lenses are cleaned and stored, use a new cleaning or disinfecting solution.
- After each usage, cases should be rubbed and rinsed with sterile contact lens solution (never use tap water) and emptied, then left open to dry.
- Replace lens storage containers every 3 months.
- Give your eyes a rest after wearing your contact lenses on a daily basis.
Visit Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses For All Your Contact Lens Concerns
If you suspect you have an eye infection, call Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses in Albuquerque for assistance. Our eye doctor will diagnose the problem and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Q: How long after an eye infection can I wear contacts?
- A: Wearing contact lenses too soon after an infection won’t give your eye enough time to heal. To avoid this, wait 24 hours after finishing a course of antibiotics to wear your lenses. And always remember to throw out the lenses you wore while your eye was infected.
Q: Can I shower with contacts?
- A: Eye doctors recommend you avoid showering while wearing contacts. So be sure to remove your contacts and store them in a container with fresh solution prior to showering, bathing, or swimming. And while we're on the topic, avoid rinsing or storing your contacts in water. If it does occur, either disinfect thoroughly or dispose of them.
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