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Link Between Eye Infections and Contact Lens Use Exposed

A recent research has found that the use of a specific contact lens solution is very strongly linked to Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK), a rare severe eye infection.

The study, by University of Illinois researchers, has been published online by the American Journal of Ophthalmology.

AK is an often severe, aching infection of the cornea that normally causes corneal scarring and at times blindness.

"We began to look for possible contact lens-related causes for the sharp increase in cases, all in contact lens wearers, in this previously rare infection. In the last three and half years we have seen 63 cases of the infections, compared to the two or three cases a year we would normally expect to see," said Charlotte Joslin, assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at UIC and principle investigator in the study.

In their study, the researchers compared 38 AK patients with 100 controls, all of whom were UIC clinic patients between 2003 and 2006. In addition to this, all participants were asked to fill out a survey.

Survey questions centred on the six-month period previous to symptoms and targeted three areas: water exposure; contact lens hygiene, including solutions and lens types; and other habits associated with contact lens use. Participants were provided with colour images of the contact lens solution bottles to help them remember what type they had used.

Among soft contact lens wearers, participants with AK were considerably more likely to report having exclusively used AMO Complete Moisture Plus than the control group (55.2 percent vs. 10.5 percent).

"The results correlated with previously published laboratory studies that showed that Acanthamoeba is largely resistant to contact lens solutions in general and to Complete MoisturePlus in particular," said Dr. Elmer Tu, associate professor of clinical ophthalmology, who is also involved with the study.
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