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Eye Hygiene Crucial To Keep Fungus at Bay

Bausch & Lomb have been at their wits end since the 13th of April when their contact lens solution, ReNu, got embroiled in the eye of a storm, after reports got// wind that the solution was spurring a fungus infection called Fusarium keratitis , known to affect the cornea. There were nearly 109 cases reported, and this led to the company withdrawing the solution from the market. Since then, the numbers of cases reported have risen to 176.

Fusarium keratitis is considered potentially dangerous, causing widespread damage to the cornea and even blindness, if left untreated. There is still ambiguity surrounding the reason for a lens cleaning solution to cause fungal keratitis. Dr. David Hollander, an ophthalmologist at UCLA's Jules Stein Eye Institute, is of the opinion that even the process of inserting and removing the contact lens could cause a micro trauma. This may provide an opportunity for the fungus to enter, which can manifest on the lens as well as the lens cases.

In his words "patients getting the fungal ulcers have poor contact lens hygiene, meaning they might be keeping disposable lenses around for months, or not changing their lens case, or they're sleeping in their contact lenses."

It pays well to follow guidelines before and after contact lens use. They are:

1. It is always advisable to wash hands before handling the lenses.
2. The lenses should be ideally cleaned and stored as per the instructions provided in the packaging.
3. The contact lens case is to be cleaned after each use.
4. The lens case should be open and dry between cleanings
5. The lens case should be replaced every three months
6. Only fresh solution is to be used to clean and store lenses.

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