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Dr. Stewart Shofner Explains Why Summer Months Lead to Increased Eye Infections For Those Wearing Contact Lens

Mon, Jun 29th 2015 01:00 pm
Nashville, TN

Renowned Eye Surgeon, Dr. Stewart Shofner explains why many eye infections occur more during the summer months and provides tips to prevent them. Viral eye infections can spread any time of the year, but are very active during summer, especially for those that wear contact lenses.

Who's at Risk for Eye Infections?
Experts report eye infections experienced by contact lens wearers increase by at least ten times over the summer months, believed to be caused by poor hygiene and common summertime activities such as swimming. A Lancet study showed that people who wear daily contact lenses run a 1 in 100 risk of developing bacterial keratitis, an infection that can lead to a permanent loss of vision.

Eye Infection Causes
"Eye infections including: styes, bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are more common during the hotter months," says Dr. Shofner. An infection occurs when the virus invades a part of the eyeball or surrounding area, including the clear front surface of the eye (cornea) or the thin, moist membrane line of the outer and inner eyelids (conjunctiva).

Viral eye infections are very common and some medicines can provide temporary relief but should be administered by a health care professional or eye doctor. "To reduce eye strain and discomfort, it is important to see an eye doctor immediately to diagnose and treat the infection," adds Dr. Shofner.

The FDA recommends that contact lenses should not be exposed to any kind of water, including tap water and water in swimming pools, oceans, lakes, hot tubs and showers. Water can be home to countless viruses and dangerous microbes. One of the most serious is the Acanthamoeba organism, which can attach to contact lenses and cause the cornea to become infected and inflamed. This condition, called Acanthamoeba keratitis, is associated with wearing contact lenses while swimming and can cause permanent vision loss or require a corneal transplant to recover lost vision if not treated early enough.

Viral eye infections are contagious, the person infected should take special care of personal hygiene and avoid close contact, including shaking hands, with others. Avoid touching and rubbing the eyes and teach children to avoid eye contact before washing their hands first.

Additional Tips
"There really is no safe way to wear contact lenses while swimming, as the risk of infection, bacterial exposure, and discomfort multiplies, says Dr. Shofner. If contact lenses are required for vision, goggles are a must-have." Gas permeable contact lenses should never be worn while swimming, even with goggles as those lenses are more likely to dislodge from the eye. View additional safety tips and the lifestyle costs of wearing contacts on Shofner Vision Center's website.

About Dr. Stewart Shofner
Harvard Graduate, Dr. Stewart Shofner has been practicing in Nashville since 1990 and has performed more than 10,000 cataract and ocular surgeries and over 30,000 LASIK/PRK surgeries on Middle Tennessee eyes. Dr. Shofner is Board Certified and one of the country's premier eye surgeons offers treatment to reduce eye damage and improve vision.

About Shofner Vision Center
Shofner Vision Center offers by far the most caring, responsible group of professionals who pay close attention to details to ensure every patient is given the best experience. Patients can schedule a comprehensive eye exam online to determine if an eye infection such as viral conjunctivitis is present by calling (615) 340-4733.

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