It can cause blindness.
An outbreak of an eye infection that can cause blindness has been identified in contact lens wearers, researchers say.
A University College London and Moorfields Eye Hospital researchers team found a threefold increase in Acanthamoeba keratitis since 2011 in South-East England.
Reusable contact lens wearers with the eye infection are more likely to have been non-compliant in their wearing habits, used an ineffective contact lens solution, or have contaminated their lenses with water or reported poor contact lens hygiene, according to the findings, which were published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.
"This infection is still quite rare, usually affecting 2.5 in 100,000 contact lens users per year in South East England, but it’s largely preventable," said the study’s lead author, Professor John Dart (UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust). "This increase in cases highlights the need for contact lens users to be aware of the risks."
Acanthamoeba keratitis is an eye disease that causes the cornea to become painful and inflamed. Acanthamoeba is a cyst-forming microorganism.
The most severely affected patients (a quarter of the total) have less than 25 percent of vision or become blind following the disease and face prolonged treatment. Overall 25 percent of people affected require corneal transplants to treat the disease or restore vision.
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