How Your Contacts Could Cost Your Eyes

A paramedic in the United Kingdom had to have his eye removed after it was infected by a parasite commonly found in tap water or soil.

When Andrew Carthew woke up with what he called a “weepy eye,” the paramedic of 37 years assumed he had conjunctivitis or more commonly known as “pink eye,” The Bristol Post reports.

When the excruciating pain didn’t go away, Carthew went to the emergency room and was given drops for an ordinary eye infection, which didn’t help his condition.

A month later, Carthew was diagnosed with a rare infection called Acanthamoeba Keratitis, which is caused by microscopic, free-living ameba that infects the eye’s cornea, according to the CDC.

The Bristol Posts reports that after months of undergoing treatment to save Carthew’s eye, including an emergency cornea transplant, doctors had no choice but to remove it in November.

The CDC says people who wear contact lenses are most at risk for Ancanthamoeba Keratitis and increase that risk by not taking care of lenses properly. Practices that increase the risk include disinfecting lenses with tap water, swimming or showering while wearing lenses, or coming into contact with contaminated water.

Carthew said he didn’t use tap water to clean his lenses, but experts believe he may have touched them with a contaminated finger.

Ways to reduce getting the infection or others like it: Getting regular eye examinations from a provider Wear and replace lenses according to the prescribed schedule Remove lenses before any water activity (hot tubs, showering, swimming) Make sure hands are clean and dry before handling lenses Never reusing or topping off old solution Never using saline solution or rewetting drops to disinfect lenses Rubbing and rinsing your lenses will help reduce microbes and residues Store reusable lenses in the proper storage Replace storage cases once every three months

Source From Centers for Disease Control.

Sourced from Bristol Post