Monthly Archive for: ‘May, 2016’

Acanthamoeba Keratitis.


I had a young man in earlier who was wearing a pair or Air Optix monthly replacement contact lenses, bought from an optician’s in Navan, from our prescription though.

He ran out of lenses about 1 month ago, so has been wearing this pair for two months now. To be fair the lenses looked in not too bad condition, but we cannot advise or condone wearing a medical device (which a contact lens is), for longer than it is designed, or licenced to be worn.

BUT…. he ran out of contact lens solutions also approximately 1 month ago, so he has been using — TAP WATER.

Tap water can commonly contain Acanthamoeba, which can cause devastating corneal infections – potentially sight threatening infection. Tap water does not kill bacteria, which will naturally be on the surface of the contact lenses – you need to clean the contact lenses and store them in an approved solution to kill off the the bugs which were not rubbed off. Acanthamoeba eat the “Biofilm” on the contact lens (the bacteria, mould spores, mucus and other contaminants which coat the lens during wear) so if there is no contamination on the lens there is less for an amoeba to eat. But if they get into your cornea, they will start eating the nerves in your cornea, which as you can imagine may “smart” a little. Often a “red flag” for an acanthamoeba infection is a very incredibly painful eye, with little sign that it should be so sore – it can take a while for the problems to begin to show up on examination.

Acanthamoeba Keratitis.Never ever ever store your contact lenses in tap water. You should not even ever allow water to get onto your contact lenses, which means thorough hand drying before handling the lenses (you did just wash your hands, didn’t you??) I gave him a new pair and told him to throw the old ones away. I also gave him some solutions to tide him over until his valuepack arrives.

This lad seems to have gotten away with it, hopefully, but I advised him (again) never to mix tap water with contact lenses. But I did advise him never to mix tap water with contact lenses when I originally fitted him, and taught him how to apply and remove them…. OK, that was a good few years ago, but just one more time…. DO NOT MIX TAP WATER AND CONTACT LENSES, AT ALL EVER!

We have a contact lens dos and don’ts on the website – it might not be a bad idea to have a quick refresher if you wear contact lenses.


When, and why, do your eyes get itchy?

A mast cell stabiliser, such as Opticrom, or Optrex for Hayfevery Eyes, is very effective to reduce the itching and discomfort experienced by a pollen allergy – commonly called hayfever. But who knew that there were so many common causes of  an allergic reaction? – I for one thought that pollen was pollen! I was never a hay fever sufferer as a child, but recently developed an issue. Using this infograph, and also thinking about what caused my major problem, for me I reckon it is nettles! Once after strimming, I had a serious swelling of my eyes, where the conjunctiva was “spilling over my eyelids”! A couple of antihistamines and some drops later, things settled down. I still “suffer” from itchy eyes at certain times, but this year I am going to try drops for the nettle season to see how I get on! Last time I bought Opticrom locally it cost €11.22 – I recently found the package. You may need a couple or three bottles for your season, but if it reduces the problem, it may be worthwhile.

As a Scotsman, from Fife (the equivalent of a Cavan man), I bought a bottle, but having found out how much it cost, I didn’t open it, thinking that “I will use it if my eyes get worse”. I then promptly lost it, so it serves me right for being a meanie! But I did recently find it, and it is unopened, and still in date, I will try it, starting in June this year. Hopefully I can report back a success!

Scottish people, and Fife people in particular are not mean, I would imply Cavan men aren’t either –  just a joke…. Billy Connelly reckoned that two Scotsmen invented copper wire, while fighting over a penny…

As the information suggests, though mast cell stabilisers are very effective, it may take a few weeks to make a difference, so attempting to find the cause of the itch is very insightful.

If you wear contact lenses, and have itchy eyes, perhaps all year round, or getting worse, it is more likely that you have a contact lens (or solutions) issue than a pollen issue – how much contact lens solution gets in the eyes every day compared to pollen? Have a contact lens check-up where you normally go.

It is particularly  important that parents try to prevent their children from rubbing their eyes, though it is easier said than done – if they are itchy, prevent them from itching – eye rubbing is thought to be a major (perhaps THE major cause) of Keratoconus!



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