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PJ Online | News: Contact lens users need educating

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The Pharmaceutical Journal
Vol 268 No 7195 p557-561
27 April 2002

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British Journal of Ophthalmology (

Contact lens users need educating

Contact lens wearers need to be told that some contact lens solutions work better than others and educated about hygiene practice, say researchers from Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.

The researchers conducted a two-year study to monitor the incidence of Acanthamoeba keratitis, a rare but severe corneal infection. They found considerable geographic variation in the incidence of infection, with contact lens wearers in the south of England having a nine-fold increased risk of A keratitis compared with those in the midlands or the north.

The researchers suggest that the increased incidence could be as a result of more households being supplied with hard water. "This suggests that many contact lens users are still contaminating their contact lenses with tap water either directly (showering, face washing, handling with wet hands) or by using water to rinse their storage case," say the researchers.

Infection was associated with irregular disinfection, trauma, and swimming while wearing contact lenses. Regular use of one step hydrogen peroxide disinfection solutions was also highlighted by the researchers as a possible risk factor for A keratitis infection. This was because such systems do not allow sufficient disinfection time, they say.

The researchers report an incidence of 21 cases of A keratitis per million contact lens wearers for the first year of the study. This fell to 17 cases per million contact lens wearers in the second year. The study is published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology (2002;86:536).

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