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Home / My health / Kid's Health / Dirty contact lenses likely to cause blindness

Dirty contact lenses likely to cause blindness


Dirty contact lenses attract parasites which enter the eyes and nibble through the eye-ball, leading to blindness.

A parasite called ‘Acanthamoeba’ is usually found in the surrounding dust, sea water, showers and swimming pools. The parasite is also found in tap water. This parasite can cause blindness when it gets a chance to enter the human eye.

Millions of contact lens users are literally at the mercy of this bug which can nibble the eye-balls causing blindness. Although the actual number of infections is small, the treatment is both long and painful. Moreover, the treatment is often not completely effective.

This single-cell parasite rests on dirty lenses and their cases and feeds on the bacteria available on them. When the user puts the dirty lens in the eye, the parasite makes an entry and begins to eat its way through the cornea. It tends to breed as it goes deeper into the eye.

Some of the symptoms associated with the onset of this condition include itchy and watery eyes, blurring of vision, sensitivity to light, swelling especially on the upper eye-lids and extreme pain. Once attacked by the parasite, the vision of the eyes is said to get damaged permanently within one week’s time.

Treatment for this condition includes admission of the patient in the hospital and administration of dettol-eye drops once every 20 minutes initially. The patient will have to spend a minimum period of three weeks in the hospital. In case of severe cases, doctors might even recommend cornea-transplants to avert permanent blindness. 

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