Proper Hygiene and Prosthetic Device Care Critical for Preventing Infections

PD on finger closeup - BT -WM-L 20130111Previously, we highlighted research in which scientists are uncovering novel ways to fight eye infections. In that post, we touched on some general guidelines for preventing infections and recommended some basic hygiene practices. However, this topic is so important to our community members who have serious eye conditions and use BostonSight® PROSE devices, that this week we are covering the topic of eye infections and prevention in more detail. BostonSight PROSE patients, or those who wear contact lenses, may be especially prone to infections; therefore, practicing good hygiene and following device care instructions are critical to maintaining healthy eyes, as they are more at risk for serious infections.

Acanthamoeba is an organism that is found in the environment. It can be present in soil, dust, and water, including chlorinated pools, bottled drinking water, and tap water. Once this organism affects the eye, it feeds on the bacteria that can be found on poorly cleaned contact lenses and cases. The organism spreads quickly as it attacks the cornea and begins destroying tissue. Unless caught early, treatment of this infection can take months and is not always successful. At its worst, the infection can necessitate a corneal transplant or result in blindness. The initial parasitic keratitis can be complicated with an additional bacterial keratitis. This additional corneal infection is also more common in contact lens wearers and can compound accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Symptoms of these infections include eye pain, redness, discharge, light sensitivity, and foreign body sensation. People who experience any sign of eye infection, especially those who use PROSE devices or contact lenses, should consult their eye-care provider to ensure accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment in order to prevent complications and preserve sight. Health-care professionals recommend that the best ways to prevent these infections are to follow lens and device care protocols exactly as instructed and to always use good hygiene prior to touching the eyes, handling lenses, or using any components needed for care and disinfection. PROSE device use and care guidelines can be found on the BostonSight website.

Here are some important reminders of proper care. Although specified for contact lens wearers, these guidelines apply to PROSE patients as well.

  • Always wash hands before insertion or removal.
  • Don’t allow tap water to come in contact with lenses.
  • Be sure to use tight-fitting, leak-proof goggles when swimming to prevent contamination.
  • Never re-use saline or disinfecting solutions.
  • Use only solutions recommended by your eye-care provider.

While it may be tempting to take shortcuts in the interest of saving time or money, these shortcuts could cost you your vision. The small savings to be gained short-term could result in disastrous lifelong consequences.