Researchers at University College London found a type of corneal infection increasing in contact lens wearers. Acanthamoeba keratitis is found to be tripled in People of U.K since 2011 says a recent study. A study led by consultant Ophthalmologists Dr. John Dart from Moorfields eye hospital says there are 2 cases of such type of keratitis being seen from 100,000 contact lens wearers. The study shows that the cases are seen more in U.K than any other parts of the world and 85% of them are contact lens wearers.
Acanthamoeba keratitis is 20 times less likely than bacterial infections among contact lens wearers. Severe occurrences take up to 10 months to treat with antiseptic eye drops followed by 38 months of follow-up visits, according to the new study.
Dr. Dart says, “More severe cases lead to 75% vision decreased due to permanent scarring. While one-fourth of them require corneal transplantation. Many need corneal transplantation to restore vision in eyes with corneal perforation caused by corneal ulcers.
A 39-year-old lady, daily disposable contact lens wearer was diagnosed with Acanthamoeba keratitis. She says she did strict hygiene though she caught eye infection. Once in the month of January when she woke up, she felt horrific pain in her eye. She knew something was wrong with her eye. She had to undergo two corneal transplantation surgery when eye drops didn’t help. Almost eight years after her diagnosis, she regularly visits Moorfields because of problems linked to her cornea transplant. she now campaigns to increase awareness amongst contact lens wearers about the risk of contamination by water and the way to prevent infection.
She received an award for her no water campaign at the first Vision Pioneer Awards
Ekkeshis said: ‘I’m delighted to have my efforts to raise awareness of contact lenses and the condition recognised – it’s brilliant to have something positive to come out of my own awful experience. I have lost the sight in my eye and many years of my life to this disease. My No Water graphic warning, amongst other measures, has built a broad coalition of support and it’s already being used by a manufacturer in the UK [Clearlab] and I look forward to others also adopting it in future.
Dr. Frank Larkin, senior lecturer at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Imperial College School of Medicine says, Drug treatment is ineffective. The Acanthamoeba organism is very resistant to drugs. The infection is most commonly found in hard-water areas, where limescale allows for an optimal environment for the Acanthamoeba microorganism to grow.
A separate study on more than 270 people who use daily disposable contact lens showed that there is 3 times more risk among those who lack hygiene, who didn’t wash and dry their hands before handling contact lens, who swim with contact lens on. Use of disinfectants like “oxipol” which contains hydrogen peroxide has been found a dangerous factor to increase the risk of Acanthamoeba keratitis.
Taking Showers and washing face while wearing contact lenses are also likely to be risk factors, the study found. Dr. Dart suggests people use daily disposable contact lens and make sure that their containers are not contaminated by tap water. Use of daily disposable contact lens means, no need of cleaning and disinfecting solutions.