Troubled waters

Swimmers and contact lens wearers must be aware of the health hazards arising from wet contact lenses. Rima Evans reports on how optometrists can assess and manage patients’ risk of eye infection.

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A study led by University College London and Moorfields Eye Hospital this year found there has been a threefold increase in the incidence of Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) since 2011 in south-east England. Looking at incidence data from Moorfields between 1984 and 2016, researchers found an increase dating from 2000-03, when there were eight to 10 cases a year, to between 36 and 65 annual cases since 2011 (Carnt et al, 2018). While anyone can be infected, contact lens (CL) users face the highest risk, the study concludes (see Risk factors for AK, below). 

With this in mind, what should optometrists say to patients whose hobbies or hygiene habits mean they are allowing their lenses to get wet, irrespective of the health risks?

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