How can I prevent fungal infections from wearing contact lenses?
A fungal infection in the eyes (fungal keratitis) is a serious condition that could lead to a permanent loss of vision. Using soft contact lenses improperly can increase the risk of developing a fungal infection in the eyes. However, several other factors besides improper soft contact lenses use can cause a fungal infection in the eyes including a weak immune system or damage to the eyes.
If you wear soft contact lenses, you can take preventive steps to decrease your risk of developing such an infection:
- Check which contact lens solution you are using. Bausch & Lomb ReNu® with MoistureLoc® Multi-Purpose Solution had been linked to fungal infections. This product was recalled by the manufacturer due to an increased incidence of fungal infections among those using it. If you have been using it or still have bottles in supply, stop using this product immediately and discard any bottles you have on hand.
- Practice good daily hygiene. Always wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly, and then dry them with a "lint-free" method before you remove or insert your lenses.
- Wear and replace your contacts on the schedules prescribed by your eye care professional. Wearing them too long or overnight can also increase your risk for developing a fungal infection in your eyes.
Daily care of your contact lenses also is critical to your eye health. The manufacturer of your contact lenses will have specific recommendations for storage and cleaning of its product. Familiarize yourself with those specific guidelines and follow them. Also, make sure you clean your contact lens case often and replace it every three to six months. Use a "rub and rinse" method for cleaning your lenses to decrease the amount of germs on your lenses and decrease your chance of developing an infection.
Always discuss your concerns and questions with your eye care professional.
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