Don’t do it. Here’s why: The Acanthamoeba is a naturally occurring single-celled organism that is found in untreated soil and liquids, including tap water. Should one of the little blighters manage to come into contact with the eye, it can penetrate the cornea, especially if already damaged, and Acanthamoeba keratitis can occur.
Symptoms include redness and eye pain, tearing, light sensitivity, blurred vision, discharge, and feeling as though there is a foreign body in the eye.
Due to the fact that many of the symptoms resemble those associated with Pinkeye, Acanthamoeba keratitis can be difficult for an eye doctor to diagnose. In fact, an Acanthamoeba keratitis diagnosis is usually reached once the symptoms persist despite antibiotics. The presence of a ring-like ulceration in the eye can also be used as an indicator.
While Acanthamoeba poses a risk to everyone, contact lens wearers are at particular risk.
How bad could it really be? Dr. Fiona Henriquez, from the University of the West of Scotland, who has been conducting tests on new lens solutions to try and better fight Acanthamoeba contamination, says it is a potential problem for every single contact lens wearer.
The incidence is quite low but that may be a problem with diagnosis. There are no effective drug treatments. The drugs used are often ineffective and it’s a very brutal regime. It requires hospitalisation and topical applications of a toxic substance to the eye. We’re trying to improve the elimination of this parasite and prevent blindness.
If treatment isn’t effective, there is the possibility of blindness and the need for a corneal transplant.