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How carelessness could leave you blind

How carelessness could leave you blind


Medics warn getting drunk and leaving in contact lenses leading to eye infections
  • Poor optical hygiene can lead to serious eye infections and blindness
  • Experts predict a surge over the holidays as people become careless
  • Washing contact lenses in water or showering can cause a rare infection
  • They also warn against buying cheap lenses online without getting a test

After a late night drinking, it's easy to tumble into bed without taking out contact lenses.

But experts have warned people who do so seriously risk going blind.

Poor optical hygiene, usually due to drinking too much alcohol, can lead to serious eye infection and even abscesses on the cornea that can cause blindness, they warned.

They predict a surge in eye infections over Christmas, as people take less care of their eyes when partying over Christmas and New Year.
Eye experts warn poor optical hygiene, usually due to drinking too much alcohol, can lead to serious eye infection and even abscesses on the cornea that can cause blindness.

Eye experts warn poor optical hygiene, usually due to drinking too much alcohol, can lead to serious eye infection and even abscesses on the cornea that can cause blindness.

Dr David Allamby, a leading laser eye surgeon who runs Focus clinic in London, says he sees a 50 per cent surge in enquiries in the New Year from people who have suffered infections during the holidays and want a permanent solution to their sight problems.

He warned: 'Christmas and drinking are favourite bed-fellows.

'Unfortunately, drinking and abuse of contact lenses also can come hand in hand, so there is an increased incidence of lens-related problems over the festive season.

I see so much damage in the people who come to my clinic and I can't stress enough how careful people need to be with their eyes.'

Mr Allamby said: 'A bacterial corneal abscess is an extremely serious condition, and is potentially blinding.

'Most corneal infections are related to contact lens usage, especially when proper hygiene, cleaning and removal isn't followed.

'I have seen hundreds of patients with corneal scars from contact lenses, but have never had an infection after LASIK, even after 15 years of performing the procedure.

'Research has shown the risk of a bacterial infection with contact lenses is around 100 times more likely over the long-term than it is from LASIK surgery, where the risk is around 1 in 10,000 procedures.

'There are higher risks with wearing contacts as you are constantly touching the eye and I can't stress enough how careful people need to be.

'I have heard all manner of scary stories, from people putting their lenses in their mouths to clean them, putting them in with dirty hands or scraping their eyes with their nails, to making their own solution out of salt and water.

Buying cheap contacts online is also leading to a surge in eye infections as wearers aren't having their eyes regularly examined so infections are going unnoticed, doctors warn.

The number of cases of Acanthamoeba Keratitis, a rare disease in which amoebae invade the cornea of the eye which may result in permanent visual impairment or blindness - has doubled from 100 to 200 a year nationwide.

The condition is picked up when lenses are washed in water, worn for too long or in the shower.

Acanthamoeba are naturally occurring amoeba, or tiny, one-cell animals, found in tap water, well water, and soil and sewage systems.

Infections start when lenses are exposed to the amoeba, if they are worn in the shower or while swimming, stored or washed in water, or put in without washing the hands.

If caught early, it can be treated but an infection can badly scar the eye and a third of sufferers need a corneal transplant.

Professor John Dart, of Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, told how he has seen the number of patients with this rise from 11 each year in 2010 to 80 this year.

He explained: 'People will want to save money. So a student or a young person may try to cut corners.

'They will get their eyes tested for lenses in the high street, but then get new supplies of lenses on the net.

'They will decide to save money by avoiding contact lens checks. But these checks are vital, not just to see if the prescription needs changing, but to check eye health.

'You are putting a foreign object in your eye, and it is important your eyes are checked to make sure your contact lenses aren't harming your eyes.'

HOW TO WEAR CONTACT LENSES SAFELY

Wearing contact lenses increases the risk of eye infections.

Failing to follow the instructions raises that risk considerably.

The College of Optometrists offers this advice on how to use contact lenses safely:

  • Dirty contact lens cases are a major source of infection.
  • Wash, rinse and dry hands thoroughly before handling your lenses
  • Always disinfect reusable lenses in a solution as this prevents harmful organisms building up on the lens.
  • Never re-use disinfecting solution or top it up. It must be discarded and replaced with fresh solution each time the lenses are stored.
  • Rinse the storage case, leave it open to dry after use each day, and replace it monthly.
  • Clean the storage case each week, using a clean toothbrush and contact lens solution.
  • Don't re-use disposable lenses as they're unsuitable for repeated use.
  • Do not shower in lenses
  • Only wear lenses for the recommended length of time
  • Have an up-to-date pair of spectacles to wear for times when contact lenses cannot be worn

(Original Article taken by Madlen Davies from MailOnline www.dailymail.co.uk )

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