Extra precaution needed for flood conditions warns AOA

The American Optometric Association (AOA) is reminding contact lens wearers to follow closely hygiene and compliance instructions issued by their eye physicians.

St. Louis-Flooding has been expanding across much of the Midwest, and the higher temperatures combined with standing water can mean an increase in the number of eye infections. This is why the American Optometric Association (AOA) is reminding contact lens wearers to follow closely hygiene and compliance instructions issued by their eye physicians.

Specifically, the Acanthamoeba parasite can contaminate the lens case and infect the cornea, threatening a person's vision if not detected and treated.

"Contact lenses are among the safest forms of vision correction," said Louise Sclafani, OD, FAAO, chair of the AOA's Contact Lens and Cornea Section. "Patients can and should take an active role in protecting themselves from eye infections by carefully following their optometrist's instructions regarding care of contact lenses."

To avoid risks like this eye physicians recommend the following suggestions:

  • Remove contact lenses prior to entering floodwaters or before other water activities including swimming.

  • Contact lens wearers who regularly sleep in contact lenses as prescribed should refrain from doing so if exposed to water.

  • Always sterilize contact lens cases and wash and dry hands prior to handling lenses.