Blinding amoeba; new threat to contact lens users
Those using contact lenses beware; a deadly amoeba found in tap water, showers and swimming pools is posing a threat to the contact lens users. This Amoeba targets contact lens users, chewing their eyeballs and make them blind.
This bug Acanthamoeba is a parasite and can also be traced in dust. The number are very low but treatment takes long and it is even painful and not completely reliable. Every year it makes some Britons blind.
The disease has symptoms that include itchy and watery eyes, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, swelling of the upper eyelid and extreme pain. "It is a potential problem for every single contact lens wearer," Fiona Heriquez, of the University of the West of Scotland has been quoted as saying.
Craig Roberts, professor at Strathclyde University, who is working with Henriquez to produce better cleaning solutions for contact lenses, is worried about the disease.
The amoeba comes into the action as soon as the lens is placed on the eyes and starts eating its way through the cornea, the outer layer of the eyeball and keeps breeding as it goes. And it can permanently destroy the image within a week, said Graeme Stevenson; an optician has been reported telling to Daily Mail.
"Generally it leaves you with scarring. Your cornea is your window on life and if the infection penetrates into the third layer, you are left with scarring, with a kind of frosty windscreen," Stevenson stated.
He added that many of the 75 infections recorded each year in Britain occur because people fail to follow instructions by their opticians.
"Usually a lot of it is non-compliance. It's patients rinsing their case out in tap water or rinsing their lenses out in tap water. Potentially something as simple as swimming or showering while wearing their lenses increases the risk significantly."
The disease is treated with Dettol-like eye drops and patients are treated every 20 minutes, day and night. The patients have to spend three weeks in hospital. In severe cases cornea transplants are also suggested.
--with inputs from IANS
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