WASHINGTON — QUESTION:
Can showering with your contacts lenses in lead to an eye infection caused by a parasite?
Experts say yes, this is a rare condition that can occur.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Laura Di Meglio, O.D., Instructor of ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
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A reporter shared his story earlier this summer about how he was left blind in one eye after taking a shower while wearing his contacts because of bacteria found in shower water.
Since then, other articles have warned: don't shower with your contacts in -- because of an eye parasite risk.
So, is this claim legit?
Verify researchers checked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and an instructor of ophthalmology for answers.
"I would avoid showering with your contact lenses in, water does contain parasites [called] Acanthamoeba and the Acanthamoeba can get stuck behind your contact lens and go into the cornea, cause an infection which can lead to scarring and can lead to blindness,” said Laura Di Meglio, O.D., instructor of ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
The CDC explains the parasite can be found in tap water, like when taking a shower and in whirlpools.
Also, an estimated 85% of cases happen to contact lens wearers.
You can decrease your risk of getting the infection by washing your hands before touching your lenses.
Also avoid using tap water to disinfect your contacts or the case and don’t swim, shower or use a hot tub while wearing lenses.
Di Meglio said it’s important to remember to make sure you're actually replacing your lenses as scheduled and not over using them and stretching them longer because that decreases the amount of oxygen going to the eye and it can increase your chance of infection.
So, we can verify yes, taking a shower with your contacts in can lead to eye parasites.
Treating the infection usually requires aggressive medical and surgical treatment, according to the CDC.