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Why swimming in contact lenses can cost you a sight

The next time, when you are thinking of wearing lenses to take a shower or swim in a pool, remember the experience of Stacey People, who because of this is blind in one eye, writes Today.

Photo: Shutterstock

A resident of Denver, Colorado, was blind in one eye and experienced excruciating pain after a parasite that caused acanthamic keratitis hit her eye. This virus is rare, but can lead to dangerous consequences.

“People usually think 'no, this will definitely not happen to me', but I tell this story to prove that this can happen to anyone,” says the 49-year-old woman.

The representative of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Thomas Steinemann warns that the lenses should not swim.

People wore lenses for more than 20 years. This time she put on her daily disposable lenses and went swimming with her son.

The problems began about a week later, when her left eye began to itch, turned red and began to ache. The doctor said it was conjunctivitis, but the condition worsened and the diagnosis was constantly changed. The woman was told that she was allergic to drops, a scratch on the cornea or herpes.

In July, she lost her sight. The cornea specialist finally diagnosed acantamic keratitis, a serious corneal infection caused by the parasite.

By that time, the woman was in terrible eye pain.

“Feeling like someone was clicking the rubber band in front of my eye every few seconds, while there was such pain in the back of my eye as if it was about to explode. I had a feeling of constant migraine, ”the woman recalls.

She could not stay in the light for a long time, read, watch TV, go to work. At some point, a woman could not do anything but lie curled up.

“I have suicidal thoughts. If I didn’t have a family and incredible support, I don’t know what would have happened, ”she says.

It turns out that soft contact lenses look like a sponge, they can absorb water and impurities contained in it. The parasite penetrates the lens with water, and then moves into the cornea, as the lens fits tightly to it.

The main symptom of the disease is severe pain. It is impossible to treat an antibiotic infection. Doctors prescribe special drops that must be used for several months.

People call these drops “acidic” because they caused almost the same pain as the virus. She used them for almost 15 months to make sure the parasite was completely destroyed. At the beginning of 2015, she became a candidate for a cornea transplant. After the operation, her eyesight was restored.

A woman warns others against wearing lenses in contact with water. According to her, one drop is enough for infection.

If you wear contact lenses, then:

  • do not shower or swim in lenses;
  • if, nevertheless, you float in contact lenses, then after that you must remove them and disinfect them;
  • If you wear disposable lenses, discard them immediately after contact with water.

Steinmann warns that the risk of contracting keratitis acanthamebic virus is small, but it is difficult not only to treat it, but also to diagnose it.

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