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Reusable contact lenses more than triple risk of rare preventable eye infection

Reusable contact lenses more than triple risk of rare preventable eye infection

Reusable contact lenses more than triple the risk of rare, preventable eye infection, according to new research published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology.

The study found that while the risk of infection from any one use of disposable contacts is low, the risk goes up with each additional day that the lenses are worn.

“We found that the risk of developing acanthamoeba keratitis, a serious and potentially blinding eye infection, was three times higher in people who used reusable contact lenses than in those who used disposable lenses,” said Dr. David C. Musher, lead author of the study and professor of ophthalmology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Acanthamoeba keratitis is caused by a microscopic parasite that can live in tap water and soil. It is most often contracted when contaminated water comes into contact with the eye, such as when showering or swimming with contact lenses in.

While the infection is rare, it can be very serious, leading to corneal scarring and vision loss.

“This study highlights the importance of using disposable lenses, which are designed to be thrown away after one use, and not reusing them,” Musher said. “It also underscores the need for good hygiene when handling contact lenses.”

The study looked at data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Manufacturers and User Facility Device Experience Database.

The researchers identified 1,075 cases of acanthamoeba keratitis that were reported between 2005 and 2015. Of those, 58 percent were associated with reusable contact lenses and 42 percent with disposable lenses.

After adjusting for a number of factors, the researchers found that the risk of developing acanthamoeba keratitis was 3.4 times higher for those who used reusable lenses than for those who used disposable lenses.

The study also found that the risk of infection was highest among those who wore their lenses for 12 or more hours per day and among those who slept in their lenses.

“We know that there are a lot of people who reuse their lenses, and this study should serve as a wake-up call to the dangers of doing so,” Musher said. “If you wear contacts, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper care and replacement, and always practice good hygiene.”

Reusable contact lenses more than triple the risk of a rare but preventable eye infection that can cause blindness, according to new research.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology, found that the rate of Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) was 3.4 times higher among contact lens wearers who reused their lenses compared to those who used disposable lenses.

AK is a parasitic infection that can cause serious damage to the cornea, the clear outer layer of the eye. It is most often caused by contaminated water, such as when contact lenses are washed in tap water or stored in unclean solutions.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Soo Kim, emphasized that AK is a rare infection, but it is important for contact lens wearers to be aware of the risks.

“The bottom line is that AK is a serious infection that can lead to blindness, and it is important for contact lens wearers to take proper care of their lenses to prevent it,” she said.

To reduce the risk of AK, the study’s authors recommend that contact lens wearers never reuse their lenses, always wash their hands before handling their lenses, and never store their lenses in water.

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