Published On: Fri, Oct 25th, 2013

Contact lenses can be a risk for amoebic infections

As more and more people wear contact lenses worldwide, increasingly more cases of a destructive eye disease have been appearing over the past several years. The infection is called amoebic keratitis (AK).

Image/Vieo Screen Shot

Image/Vieo Screen Shot

According to the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center, over 24 million people in the United States now wear contact lenses.

AK is a very painful eye infection and if not treated in a timely manner can cause blindness.

The offending organism is called Acanthamoeba which is normally found free-living in the environment; soil, water (including tap and bottled water). However, Acanthamoeba can cause AK, sometime through accidental trauma, but most frequently through the use of soft contact lenses.

Using tap water to clean contact lenses and the contact lens cases and wearing contact lenses while swimming all present a danger to getting AK.

According to Dr Basilio Valladares from the University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the Canary Islands, University of La Laguna, “When people rinse their contact lens cases in tap water, they become contaminated with amoebae that feed on bacteria. They are then transferred onto the lenses and can live between the contact lens and the eye. This is particularly worrying because commercial contact lens solutions do not kill the amoebae.”

To prevent AK and other types of eye infections impeccable hygiene must be practiced while handling contact lenses. The following recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for handling contact lenses should be followed:

• Always wash your hands before handling contact lenses to reduce the chance of getting an infection.
• Remove the lenses immediately and consult your eye care professional if your eyes become red, irritated, or your vision changes.
• Always follow the directions of your eye care professional and all labeling instruction for proper use of contact lenses and lens care products.
• Use contact lens products and solutions recommended by your eye care professional.
• Do not use contact lens solutions that have gone beyond the expiration or discard date.
• Sterile saline solutions are only to be used for rinsing. They are not to be used for cleaning and disinfecting your lenses.
• Rub and rinse your contact lenses as directed by your eye care professional.
• Clean and disinfect your lenses properly following all labeling instructions provided with your lens care products
• Do not “top-off” the solutions in your case. Always discard all of the left over contact lens solution after each use. Never reuse any lens solution.
• Do not expose your contact lenses to any water: tap, bottled, distilled, lake or ocean water. Never use non-sterile water (distilled water, tap water or any homemade saline solution).
• Do not put your lenses in your mouth to wet them. Saliva is not a sterile solution.
• Clean, rinse and air-dry your lens case each time lenses are removed. You may want to flip over your lens case while air drying so excess solution may drain out of the case. Contact lens cases can be a source of bacterial growth.
• Replace your contact lens storage case every 3-6 months.
• Do not transfer contact lens solutions into smaller travel size containers. This can affect the sterility of the solution which can lead to an eye infection. Transferring solutions into smaller size containers may also leave consumers open to accidentally using a solution not intended for the eyes.

If you do experience symptoms of irritation or eye infection consult with your eye doctor. It is impossible for the user to determine the seriousness of a problem about using contact lenses and will need to see their doctor.

Remove the lenses and don’t put them back in your eyes. Save them in the lens case, your doctor may need them for testing and diagnosis.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

Displaying 9 Comments
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  1. Renan Viana says:

    Hi there! do you offer social media services?

  2. Contact Lens Health Week 2015: ‘Healthy habits mean healthy eyes’ | Outbreak News Today says:

    […] Contact lenses can be a risk for amoebic infections  […]

  3. Taiwan: Girl contracts Acanthamoeba after leaving contacts in for 6 months - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] For more on Acanthamoeba keratitis and how to prevent it, see the article, Contact Lenses Can Be A Risk For Amoebic Infections […]

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    […] more about Acantamoeba, Loa loa and pubic louse  by clicking the […]

  5. Contact lens hand soap - Right Eyes says:

    […] Contact lenses can be a risk for amoebic infections […]

  6. Philadelphia eye doctors offer safety tips for protecting your eyes during Halloween - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] and seek medical attention right away. Eye infections can be caused by bacteria, fungi or parasites and keratitis can quickly become serious and cause blindness if left […]

  7. Skye Gabor says:

    I think that we can carefully use a contact lenses for protect the eye.

  8. Contact lenses can be a risk for amoebic infections | says:

    […] […]

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