Can I Get an Infection From Unclean Contacts?

Although millions of individuals use contact lenses safely everyday, they are not without certain risks, particularly that of an eye infection. The most common cause of eye infections, from contact lenses, is keratitis. Also known as cornea inflammation, Keratitis occurs when the clear tissue on the front of your eye becomes swollen, and can happen if you leave your contact lenses in for an extended period of time. There are other ways that you can contract keratisis, such as dry eyes and injury, but they are broad and can range from herpes, fungus and bacteria, and sometimes unknown factors.

Fungal Keratisis Causes

That being said, the most common form of keratisis is fungal, and is caused by the fungi known as Fusaria. Fusaria are common fungi that can be found in the soil, in water or on the cellulose layer of plants, and is particularly found in warmer climates. Fusaria can develop on contact lenses if they are exposed to excessive moisture or plant residue, whether you are wearing them or not. It can also transfer from your contact lenses into your cornea, if there is an existing superficial injury, such as a cut or scratch.

Fungal Keratisis Symptoms

While fungal kertasis is a serious condition, there are several tell-tale signs that you may have this condition. Symptoms can range from sudden pain in the eye, to excessive tearing or any discharge from your eyes. If you think you have experienced any symptoms of fungal keratisis from your contact lenses, such as eye redness, reduced vision or excessive light sensitivity, you should see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. Treatment must begin as to prevent blindness or other serious damage to you cornea, and you should also remove and clean your contact lenses, just in case.

Fungal Keratisis Treatment

Once you visit your ophthalmologist, he or she will have several recommendations after they determine if you have fungal keratisis. First among those will be anti fungal eye drops and oral medications, which in most cases will be sufficient to quell your symptoms. However, if the fungal infection is too far along, your ophthalmologist may recommend surgery, and if it is severe enough, you may have to have a corneal transplant. Fortunately, this surgery has a high success rate and will replace the damaged cornea tissue, with healthy cornea, tissue given by a donor.

However, corneal transplant surgery is a last resort and can be avoided if you regularly clean, store and hygienically handle your contact lenses. If you have any questions about this disease, or how you might be affected, you should contact us today for advice, and preventative steps, so you can avoid this serious medical condition.