Right here’s one thing to remember this summer season: Seems, swimming in your contact lenses is unquestionably not a good suggestion.
The warning comes from a brand new case report within the New England Journal of Medicine, which tells the story of a lady who, after swimming in her contact lenses, developed acanthamoeba keratitis, an an infection that may impair your imaginative and prescient.
The affected person had her eye examined after two months of intermittent ache, sensitivity to mild, and blurry imaginative and prescient in her left eye. (FYI: The affected person’s eye appears inexperienced on this picture due to fluorescein eye stain, which helps medical doctors detect international our bodies within the eye and injury to the cornea, based on the U.S. National Library of Medicine.)
The lady’s situation, acanthamoeba keratitis, is comparatively uncommon, nevertheless it’s not essentially unparalleled. “This is not a common condition, but most busy eye clinics will see five to 10 cases a year,” Douglas Fredrick, MD, chief of pediatric ophthalmology for the Mount Sinai Well being System in New York Metropolis, tells Well being.
Dr. Fredrick says you will get an acanthamoeba keratitis an infection after swimming in any water: lakes, swimming pools, sizzling tubs—they’re all truthful sport, and he describes the parasite that causes the an infection as “hearty” however says it’s extra frequent in heat water. However right here’s the factor: It gained’t trigger issues for you except it attaches to your contact and causes an an infection, he says. So swimming in waters the place the parasite lives isn’t essentially harmful—except you may have contact lenses in.
Because of this, all contact lens producers advocate that you simply don’t swim in your contacts, Dr. Fredrick says. Even a “well-maintained pool can have the organism” that causes the an infection, he provides.
Acanthamoeba keratitis doesn’t at all times go away with a fast repair. “It’s very difficult to treat. It requires use of topical eye drops that have to be used hourly for weeks at a time,” Dr. Fredrick explains. He says that in some instances sufferers have to make use of them for months. Generally, sufferers should bear a cornea transplant after utilizing the drops. It’s because the an infection may cause corneal scarring. The affected person featured within the new report needed to have a transplant. Even after that, her imaginative and prescient wasn’t all the best way restored; it was 20/80. (For reference, something worse than 20/70 is taken into account “low vision” based on the American Foundation for the Blind.)
Your finest guess? Ditching the lenses whenever you swim. “The safest thing would be to never swim with [contact lenses],” Dr. Fredrick says. However, fortunately, you don’t should threat impaired sight to go for a dip. “You can buy a pair of prescription goggles for about $20,” Dr Fredrick says. He provides that when you think about the doable various—imaginative and prescient loss—“that investment is far better.”
Positive, you may not get an ideal tan carrying goggles—however that’s positively a greater drawback than dropping your eyesight after going for a swim.