Contact Lens Wearers Advicsed To Protect Eyes Against Infection

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Contact Lens

American Academy of Ophthalmology is offering advice to all contact lens wearers to reduce their risk of eye infections, in response to the CDC health alert about an outbreak of Acanthamoeba keratitis, a rare but serious eye infection.

"More than 30 million Americans wear contact lenses," says H. Dunbar Hoskins Jr., MD. executive vice president of the Academy. "While the risk of infection remains low, contact lenses are medical devices that require the commitment of their wearers to handle and care for them correctly. Proper lens care is critical to ensure that your eyes are protected from potentially dangerous eye disease."

The Academy offers the following tips for consumers:

-- Stop using Complete MoisturePlus by Advanced Medical Optics (AMO). Discard any unused solution, including partially used or unopened bottles. Discard lenses stored in the solution and the cases used to store those lenses.

-- Consult your eye care professional concerning use of an appropriate alternative contact lens solution.

-- Wash hands with soap and water and dry before handling contact lenses.

-- Do not use tap water to rinse your lenses.

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-- Read and follow the instructions for your contact lens solution.

-- Consider performing a "rub and rinse" lens cleaning method, rather than a no-rub method, regardless of the type of cleaning/disinfecting solution that you use, in order to minimize the number of germs on the lens. After rubbing, rinse lenses thoroughly with a multipurpose disinfecting solution.

-- Fill your contact lens case with fresh solution from the bottle each time you clean the lenses. Never reuse old solution or "top off" old solution in the storage case.

-- Do not transfer contact lens solution from its original container to anything other than storage cases.

-- Remove the lenses and consult your ophthalmologist immediately if you experience symptoms such as redness, pain, tearing, increased light sensitivity, blurry vision, discharge, or swelling.

-- Any eye infection is a serious medical problem that requires medical care. If you think you have an eye infection, see an ophthalmologist, who is a medical doctor trained to diagnose and treat eye problems.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has these additional recommendations:

-- Remove contact lenses before any activity involving contact with water, including showering, using a hot tub, or swimming.

-- Rinse storage cases with sterile contact lens solution (never use tap water) and leave the cases open to dry after each use.

-- Replace your lens case at least every three months.

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