Could Your Eye Pain Be The Result Of An Amoeba?

If you routinely wear contact lenses, you may occasionally find yourself dealing with a red, swollen, or painful eye. Even with proper cleaning and handling practices, contact lenses can accumulate small amounts of bacteria, viruses, and other debris that may irritate your eyes. In the vast majority of cases, this irritation is harmless and goes away within a day or two.

But in some rare cases, searing eye pain and redness combined with light sensitivity can actually be the warning sign of an infection called acanthamoeba keratitis. Without prompt diagnosis and treatment, this infection could result in vision loss. Read on to learn more about this potentially dangerous amoebal infection and what you'll need to do to treat it.

What causes acanthamoeba keratitis?

This condition, often abbreviated AK, occurs when a microscopic amoeba breaches your cornea (often through a scrape or small cut you don't even feel). Once the amoeba is inside your cornea, it begins to reproduce, leaving behind cysts that are similar to a cicada's discarded "skin." These cysts can cause serious pain, sensitivity to light (especially the blue light that emanates from computer and cell phone screens), and may eventually lead to blindness.

The amoeba that causes AK Isn't an uncommon one, and is often found in lakes, ponds, and even municipal water. Most people can tolerate exposure to the acanthamoeba and never develop AK. But some who wear contacts—and who tend to sleep in them more often than they should, don't change them frequently, or use tap water in lieu of saline solution—may be vulnerable to AK.

What are your treatment options?

This infection is notoriously stubborn, even with treatment, so prompt diagnosis is crucial. If you've experienced serious eye pain that leaves you unable to put in your contacts (or open your eyes without squinting), or if you're no longer able to look at your computer or cell phone screen without wincing, make an ophthalmologist appointment as quickly as you can. You may want to bring along your contacts and a bottle of the saline solution you've been using so that your ophthalmologist can check for any product recalls.

If you do have AK, you'll be prescribed some eye drops that must be applied every couple of hours, around the clock, until the amoebas have stopped spreading. You'll then be able to taper down these drops until there's no longer any sign of infection. Although any cysts left behind may be permanent, when treated quickly, they shouldn't have any long-term impact on your vision or affect your ability to get vision correction surgery at a later date.

Speak with an eye disease treatment specialist to learn more.

About Me

Preparing for a Stem Cell Transplant

About six months ago, my wonderful father discovered he had an aggressive form of lymphoma. At this time, his doctor informed him he would need to undergo six rounds of chemotherapy. My dad’s physician also told him he would need to have a stem cell transplant immediately after he completed the chemotherapy. To prepare for the stem cell transplant, my father was put on a special diet. His doctor recommended he eat a lot of protein. My dad was also told to drink plenty of water and exercise regularly. On this blog, I hope you will learn smart tips to help you or one of your loved ones prepare for a stem cell transplant. Enjoy!


Latest Posts

11 June 2024
If you or a loved one is suffering from cataracts, you may be considering cataract eye surgery as a solution. Cataracts can cause blurry vision, diffi

5 April 2024
As a pilot, your health is of utmost importance not only for your own well-being but also for the safety of everyone on board your plane. The FAA's HI

8 February 2024
In an age where corporate integrity sways the court of public opinion and productivity is a non-negotiable currency, drug testing remains a critical t