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Doctors of Optometry Urge Contact Lens Wearers to Be Vigilant With Lens Hygiene and Compliance in Flood Areas
Date:6/19/2008

ST. LOUIS, June 19 /PRNewswire/ -- As flooding continues to expand across much of the Midwest, the American Optometric Association (AOA) reminds contact lens wearers to closely follow hygiene and compliance instructions issued by their eye doctor. Higher temperatures combined with standing water can mean an increase in the number of cases of eye infections. In particular, the Acanthamoeba parasite and other micro-organisms can contaminate the lens case and infect the cornea. Water contaminated with Acanthamoeba can come from lakes, rivers, and swimming pools. Acanthamoeba infections are rare, but can be dangerous and threaten a person's vision if not properly detected and treated.

Doctors of optometry recommend that lens wearers take the following precautions to avoid exposing their eyes to Acanthamoeba or other flood-related eye infections:

-- Remove contact lenses prior to entering flood waters or before other water activities including swimming

-- Contact lens wearers who regularly sleep in contact lenses as prescribed should refrain from doing so if exposed to water

-- Always sterilize contact lens cases and wash and dry hands prior to handling lenses

"Contact lenses are among the safest forms of vision correction," said Dr. Louise Sclafani, chair of the AOA's Contact Lens and Cornea Section. "Patients can and should take an active role in protecting themselves from eye infections by carefully following their optometrist's instructions regarding care of contact lenses."

According to the AOA, proper lens hygiene and compliance includes using fresh cleaning or disinfecting solution each time lenses are cleaned and stored. Additionally, most solutions are approved for use without rubbing; however, optometrists are recommending that patients rub their lenses to enhance cleaning for additional safety.

A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel met last week to address contact lens safety and compliance
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SOURCE American Optometric Association
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