Contact Lens Fungus
Infection Warning in US - Symptoms and Treatments - Severe Corneal
Fungal Eye Disease Cases in United States
April 1st 2006
A warning has gone out to contact lens wearers concerning an outbreak of
Fusarium keratitis, a severe corneal fungal infection that has recently
been linked to soft contact lens use. Doctors began seeing the
infection in Asia but now, according to the Doctors of optometry from
the American Optometric Association's (AOA) Contact Lens and Cornea
Section have begun seeing the infection in the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has acknowledging that they are
investigating three cases of Optometrists in Florida and Iowa also have
reported seeing similar cases in patients. According to Jack Schaeffer,
O.D. and chair-elect of the Contact Lens and Cornea Section of the AOA,
"This recent news is cause for concern, but not for alarm. We want our
patients to be aware that there is a problem out there and that the
details are unfolding as we speak. We remain committed to protecting the
eye health of Americans throughout this situation."
Experts are not sure whether these cases are directly related to the
outbreaks in Asia. Typically the treatment for Fusarium keratitis
includes anti-fungal medication. In some cases, patients have reportedly
experienced a significant loss of vision, resulting in the need for a
The symptoms of Fusarium keratitis include sudden blurred or fuzzy
vision, red and irritated eyes lasting for an unusually long period of
time, pain in and around the eyes, increased sensitivity to light and
excessive eye tearing. If you experience these symptoms you should
contact your optometrist immediately.
According to the AOA, clean and safe handling of contact lenses is one
of the most important measures Americans can take to protect their
sight. These are the Top 5 recommendations for clean and safe contact
1. Carefully and regularly clean contact lenses, as directed by an
optometrist and the patient information included with lens care
2. Rub the contact lenses with fingers and rinse thoroughly before
soaking the lenses overnight in enough multi-purpose solution to
completely cover the lens.
3. Store lenses in the proper case and replace the lens storage
case every three months. Clean the contact lens case after each use and
keep the case open and dry between cleanings.
4. Use the proper products to clean and disinfect contact lenses as
recommended by your optometrist. Remember that saline solutions and
rewetting drops are not designed to disinfect lenses.
5. Only fresh solution should be used to clean and disinfect
contact lenses. Never re-use old solution. Contact lens solution must be
changed everyday, even if the lenses are not used daily.
When cleaning and wearing contacts you should:
1. Not use cream soaps to clean contact lenses. Cream soaps can
leave a film on the hands that can be transferred to the lenses.
2. Never put contact lenses in the mouth or moisten them with
saliva, which is full of bacteria and a potential source of infection.
3. Don't use tap water or homemade saline solutions. Improper use of
solutions has been linked to a potentially blinding condition among soft
4. Never use contacts that have not been prescribed by an eye
doctor. Contact lens wearing is not an option for everyone; consult
with an optometrist to see if it's an appropriate option.
For update to this story