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Do not shower with your contacts, the man blinded by eye parasites warns

Two Acanthamoeba Protozoa Under Scanning Electron Microscope
Image: Janice Haney Carr (CDC / Catherine Armbruster, Margaret Williams) [19659004] The shocking story of a British reporter, Losing his right eye will certainly scare anyone who is negligent in terms of contact lens hygiene. He contracted a rare parasitic infection, probably as a result of showering with his contacts. The costly mistake required intensive treatments for over 18 months, and there is a possibility that he will never see again from the right eye.

Nick Humphreys, a 29-year-old senior reporter from the local Shropshire Star, told his story this week in a column for the outlet. According to Humphreys, the complaints started in January 2018. His right eye, which had been noticeably dry for a week, became incredibly sensitive to light and pain. After over-the-counter eye drops had done nothing, he visited an ophthalmologist, in which an ulcer was discovered. A later hospital visit eventually revealed the cause of his symptoms: an infection of the cornea by a protozoan named Acanthamoeba .

"Lurking in our water and soil is a parasitic bug that can destroy your illness eye and let you blind," wrote Humphreys.

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His treatment with disinfecting eye drops was initially good, but in March 2018 he completely lost his right eye; The infection had returned. He spent the next six months in excruciating pain and was barely able to leave or even read the house. He undertook a time-consuming treatment in which he had to use eye drops every hour. Finally, given the deterioration of his condition, Humphreys was given an experimental surgery that stripped the layers of the eye so that physicians could expose it to a high dose of vitamins and ultraviolet radiation (the method known as cross-linking has proved to be the last resort) for cases of Acanthamoeba Keratitis, which in recent years have not responded to medication.

Luckily, the operation seemed to do the trick in treating the infection. But Humphreys needed surgery months later to repair and cure the complications of his comprehensive medical treatment. Now, after 18 months, a complete cornea transplant (along with a cataract surgery) is scheduled for this August, which hopefully will restore at least some degree of vision to the right eye.

"It's crucial that people out there know that this is a reality and can happen because of something as simple as showering. "

For those of you who wear contacts, it is worth noting that acanthamoeba
keratitis are rare. Our eyes are usually not where the amoeba likes to call home. But it seems to be more frequent in some parts of the world, such as in Britain
. When a person is in contact, they are susceptible to infection by this beetle because the lenses can transmit the germ of contaminated water or dirt directly to their eyes and trapped there.

Acanthamoeba is abundant in water and soil. So there's no sure way to tell how Humphreys may have gotten infected with it. The vast majority of victims, however, are contact lens wearers – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even 85 percent. The main known risk factors for contact wearers are showering or swimming with attached lenses, washing your contacts with tap water, or mishandling them while putting them in your eyes or keeping them for the night. Lenses that are stored for too long may also provide more contagion.

Humphreys hoped that retelling his experiences could serve as a warning warning.

"I can honestly say that if I had the slightest idea that this was even a remote possibility, I would not have had any contacts at all. It is crucial that people out there know that this is reality and can happen through showers.

He also urges that contact lens manufacturers attach more explicit warnings for their products.

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