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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

HEALTH ALERT: Sleeping with your contact lenses ‘can blind you’!

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PTI / The Hindu / LONDON, August 21, 2011.

A girl fixing her contact lens for a better look. File photo
A girl fixing her contact lens for a better look. File photo - The Hindu.

Here’s a word of caution for those who wear contacts - going to sleep in your lenses can blind you, experts have warned.

According to them, people should make it a point to take out and rinse contact lenses as poor lens hygiene can lead to a range of nasty eye ailments, including microbial keratitis, an infection of the cornea, the clear frontal part of the eye where lenses sit.

Left untreated, it can lead to permanent visual damage -- and, in extreme cases, blindness, they have warned.

The eye has natural protection against the foreign bodies -- through a fluid covering the eye that contains protective enzymes and by blinking, which prevents anything sticking to the eye’s surface.

Yet minute air and waterborne microbes sometimes break through these defences, penetrating the protective layer of cells on the cornea.

The bacteria pseudomonas is the most common keratitis -- causing microbe, while the most dangerous is acanthamoeba, a single-cell organism found in tap water, particularly in hard-water areas, which breeds in dirty lens case, say the experts.

“Pseudomonas and acanthamoeba occur naturally in the environment, but particularly in bathrooms. Rinsing or storing your lenses in tap water really can get you in lot of trouble.

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