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If you don't change your contacts, amoebas could eat out your eyes

Two microscopic one celled Acanthamoeba interacting
Two microscopic one celled Acanthamoeba interacting

It’s not just a marketing ploy in which the makers of contact lenses and doctors are in cahoots. Changing your contact lenses as directed could very well save your eyes. In mild cases, waiting too long to change your lenses could cause redness, itchiness and foggy vision. In more serious cases, amoebas could live in your eyeballs and while housed there, they could eat your eyes to live and make you blind.

Take 23-year-old Taiwanese undergraduate Lian Kao, who has become an extreme example of someone who was under a lot of pressure from her college studies, reported Daily Mail. She’d left her contact lenses in for six whole months, never once taking the lenses out to follow proper maintenance of the contacts. She wore them to sleep, throughout her day and even to the swimming pool.

Most eye doctors tell their patients that the recommended amount of time to keep contacts in is approximately eight hours. It is not a good idea to keep contacts in during sleep, let alone during showering and swimming.

"A shortage of oxygen can destroy the surface of the epithelial tissue, creating tiny wounds into which bacteria can easily infect, spreading to the rest of the eye and providing a perfect breeding ground,” stated Wu Jian-Liang of Taipei’s Wan Fang Hospital.

According to Digital Journal, the one-celled amoeba, Acanthamoeba, normally doesn’t have much of a chance to breed and survive in the human eye, even though eyes provide the moistness and warmth bacteria need to thrive. Leaving the contacts in for six months, Lian Kao attracted and helped along the growth of Acanthamoeba, which then fairly quickly ate away at her cornea and caused her to become blind. The results are horrendous.

Contact lens wearers should take the proper precautions and make sure they use proper hygiene in the care of their contacts. Because of the space between the eyeball and the actual contact, many bacterium can get trapped and cause issues. Symptoms can include redness, itchiness and cataracts and although chances of contracting the same kind of bug that Lian Kao got are slim, proper care of the eye and contacts will help keep away any other eye dysfunctions that could occur from improper contact lens care.