Joe Ayling: No water (under any circumstances)
Author: Joe Ayling
It doesn’t seem long since the halcyon days of August when the recycling of contact lenses (Optician 31.08.18) responsibly emerged as a priority for optics.
With autumn upon us, the subject of water and contact lenses has returned under a slightly gloomier guise as we learn cases of Acanthamoeba keratitis have tripled in the space of 15 years (see In Focus).
Researchers at Moorfields link the higher incidence to a number of compliance factors including water contamination and poor hygiene. The emergence of daily disposables as a more popular choice among wearers doesn’t seem to have even made a dent on the infection numbers – although an overall 2.5 in every 100,000 wearers still seems low.
However, much like the microplastics scandal, mentions of going blind or needing a corneal graft as a result of using contact lenses incorrectly clearly have an adverse effect on the popularity of a product that continues to make strides in technology.
The conversation can only move onto new contact lenses for myopia and presbyopia patients once the basics of compliance have been mastered, while the award-winning introduction of No Water stickers can only help drive awareness.
It is perhaps the revelation that Acanthamoeba is thriving on domestic water supplies in the UK, and appears to be more virulent here than in other countries, that is of most concern from the latest research.
Indeed, never mind ditching their contact lenses, the thought of a hotbed of bacteria in our water pipes and storage tanks is enough to send patients dashing out into the garden to dig their own personal well.
However, that’s where eye care professionals must allay any fears about water supplies with the simple message that contact lenses and water do not mix, either before or after use.