Sun, water pose risks to eye health

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

NASHVILLE - Summertime activities can be fun but they can also place your eyes at an increased risk for long-term damage from the sun, or perhaps worse.

After 40 years of wearing contact lenses, Warren Cline recently learned that his "casual at best" cleaning practices led to a devastating outcome: the loss of eyesight in his left eye.

"I didn't always use lens solution when cleaning my contacts," Cline admitted. "I just used regular tap water. I did this off and on for 35 or 40 years.

The 64-year-old businessman from Huntsville, Ala., was diagnosed a year ago with a disease called acanthamoeba keratitis, a rare infection of the eye that primarily occurs in people who wear contact lenses.

Uyen Tran, M.D., has been treating Cline at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute since March 2007. She says several practices among contact lens wearers that can increase the risk of getting acanthamoeba keratitis include improper cleaning and handling of lenses, showering, swimming and using hot tubs while wearing lenses, and sleeping in contact lenses.

For the full story, pick up a copy of Wednesday's Tribune.