If you wear contact lenses, extreme care should be taken when cleaning and wearing them to protect your eyes from a potential, serious corneal infection called acanthamoeba keratitis. To prevent this eye condition and the damage it can cause, keep the following tips in mind.
Take Out Your Contact Lenses Before Swimming
Before you go swimming, it is a good idea to take out your contact lenses so you do not lose them. However, another good reason for doing this is to prevent the acanthamoeba from getting under your contact lenses where they attach to your cornea and multiply in the nutritious, moist environment on the surface of your eye.
This is especially true when you are swimming in natural bodies of water, such as lakes and rivers. The parasites naturally live in watery environments and can thrive in water that is not treated. Precautions should also be made when swimming in an untreated or public pool.
Use Meticulous Hygiene Before Handling Your Lenses
Whenever you handle your contact lenses, make sure you use meticulous hygiene practices. The parasites can also be found on some surfaces. If you touch them, they can get on your fingertips and remain there until they find a more suitable living area, such as underneath your contact lenses.
Before you touch your lenses, wash your hands with hot, soapy water. Then, spray your fingertips with your saline solution. The salt water in the solution provides an added precautionary measure because it kills microbes and bacteria.
Remove Your Contact Lenses Before You Go To Bed
Even if you have extended-wear contact lenses, make it a practice to remove them before you go to bed at night. If an amoeba or two manage to get under the lenses, they have a better chance at growing the longer the lenses stay in place to provide a protective barrier.
After removing your lenses and placing them in a saline solution, use eyedrops designed specifically for contact lens wearers. Like the cleaning and soaking solution, the drops contain saline that can kill any possible parasites that have newly arrived on your cornea.
Following the above tips should help keep you from getting this serious condition. However, if you start experiencing redness, pain, and discharge, you may want to contact an optometrist, like the ones at Glacier Eye Clinic, immediately so they can diagnose the problem and treat it before any extensive damage is done to your eyesight.