Being able to see well is the most important thing for daily activities. Therefore, various attempts were made to support the ability to see, one of them by using contact lenses . Many people choose contact lenses as a viewing aid because of their relatively easy appearance and use, but inappropriate use is very risky to transmit the disease to the eye.
The use of contact lenses is done by attaching the lens surface to the front of the eye. Very close distance allows the transfer of germs from the surface of the lens to around the surface of eye fluid, the presence of germs is usually characterized by inflammation of the eye. Infection does not show serious symptoms at first but over time can cause permanent eye damage to blindness.
Contact lenses can be a major source of transmission against eye infections caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses. Perception of infectious agents on the surface of the lens is caused by inappropriate use such as leaving contact lenses in contact with water, using inappropriate cleaning fluid, and not changing contact lenses regularly.
This type of infection is caused by contact lens wear
Infection caused by contact lens use can occur in the cornea or known as keratitis. This disease can be caused by various germs that trigger inflammation and damage, but corneal damage can be permanent so that it requires a transplant in cases of severe infection. Based on the type of cause, this infection can be divided into four types, including:
1. Bacterial keratitis
This infection is caused by the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus . Both of these bacteria can be easily found on the surface of land and water, even the human body. Wearing contact lenses that are exposed to body surfaces or objects without being cleaned first can easily trigger bacterial keratitis infections. Bacterial keratitis in general quickly irritates, stop using it immediately if you experience discomfort when wearing contact lenses to prevent keratitis from getting worse.
2. Fungal keratitis
The types of fungi that cause infections in the cornea are various Fusarium, Aspergillus and Candida fungi . Similar to bacterial agents, fungi that can infect the eye are found in the human body. This fungus can also be found easily in an open environment with a tropical climate like in Indonesia. The nature of the fungus can easily spread to other parts of the eye, so you need to use anti-fungal drugs within a few months to prevent keratitis from getting worse.
3. Parasitic keratitis
Although rarely found, parasitic infections in the cornea of the eye may occur and this is a serious infection. Parasitic keratitis is caused by the parasitic microorganism Acanthamoeba . Like most parasites, Acanthamoeba not only damages but also lives of the individuals it occupies.
This parasite can easily be found on the ground surface and water bodies including tap water and damp AC units. Acanthamoeba infection in the eye is only possible due to the use of contact lenses, because these parasites must come in direct contact with the surface of an organ to infect it.
In addition to discomfort, Acanthamoeba infection also causes discoloration such as vaginal discharge in the cornea of the eye. Early diagnosis and treatment is needed because when it gets worse requires serious medical treatment and eye surgery.
4. Viral keratitis
This type of keratitis is caused by Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). This type of virus can only be found in humans and can only be transmitted through direct contact with individuals infected with HSV. Unlike other types of keratitis keratitis caused by HSV can be transmitted. Viral keratitis also allows for recurrent infections, and this may occur in people experiencing HSV infection. Viral infections depend on a person’s immunity, so handling viral keratitis requires anti-viral medicines and eye drops . Viral keratitis also tends to rarely require eye surgery for treatment.
Symptoms of eye infection due to contact lenses
Whatever the cause of the infection, keratitis causes symptoms that are almost similar. If you actively wear contact lenses, here are some symptoms to look out for:
- Irritation or red eyes for no apparent reason.
- There is pain that comes from the inside or around the eyes.
- The eyes are more sensitive to light.
- Blurry vision suddenly.
- Watery eyes are not natural.
Sometimes keratitis doesn’t cause any symptoms at all so you might not experience the various symptoms above. However, keratitis can also trigger other effects on the eyes, including:
- Allergic reaction to the eye.
- Eyelid infections ( conjunctivitis ).
- Dry eye.
- Ulceration or injury to the cornea.
- The appearance of new eye vessels so that the eyes look redder.
How to avoid infection of contact lenses in the eye
To prevent eye infections , users or potential users of contact lenses must understand very well the eye conditions and risks of using contact lenses that are not appropriate. Here are some things to consider when using contact lenses:
- Regular eye examination to determine the presence of infection and the suitability of contact lenses with the eyes.
- Prioritize personal hygiene, especially hands when going to wear and remove contact lenses.
- Clean contact lenses with lens cleaning fluid regularly and be careful. Avoid adding new fluids to old liquids that are still on the surface of the lens.
- Store appropriate contact lenses, avoid placing the lens in open spaces for too long, and change the lens holder every three months or so.
- Consult an ophthalmologist about the duration of use and when contact lenses need to be replaced.
- Avoid sleep using contact lenses because it can cause disease transfer and increase the risk of infection.
- Avoid activities that allow contact lenses to be exposed to water such as bathing or swimming. Use swimming goggles if you need contact lenses when swimming.
- If the lens is exposed to water you should immediately replace it with a new one to prevent infection.