Why can’t I swim in contact lenses?
Acanthamoeba is an opportunistic protozoa that can cause encephalitis with only a 2-3% survival rate and keratitis that often necessitates a corneal transplant or leads to blindness. These tiny parasites are found in the water which is why it is never recommended that you swim in your contact lenses or make you own homemade contact lens solutions.
Symptoms of Acanthamoeba keratitis are red eyes, light sensitivity, pain, blurred vision and a foreign body sensation. These symptoms are very similar to other ocular conditions and an honest history of activity can sometimes help in the diagnosis. These infections do not respond to antibiotics and has a ring shaped corneal ulcer.
Contact lens wearers are the most at risk due to improper cleaning and handling or swimming in their contact lenses. Contact lens solutions are ineffective against Acanthamoeba with the exception of hydrogen peroxide based solutions. Clean hands, clean cases and proper handling reduces the risk of infection, and prevention is always preferable.
- Never swim or use a hot tube in your contact lenses
- Never use tap water on your soft contact lenses
- Always use fresh solution in a clean case to clean and soak you lenses. It is recommended that your case be changed at least every 90 days
- Remember to water and dry your hands prior to handling your lenses
Optique Professional Eye Care urges you to practice safe contact lens usage. If you are experiencing difficulty with your eyes or your contacts give us a call (918)743-9918.