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Woman loses vision after leaving contacts in for 6 months

Doctors say amoeba burrowed through her corneas, causing her to become blind

This story should be enough to convince contact lens wearers to follow their eye doctor's instructions on cleaning and removing them nightly.

A 23-year-old Taiwanese student has lost her sight after microscopic bugs ate through her eyeballs.

Lian Kao, 23, reportedly did not remove her limited-wear contact lenses for six months straight and even wore them while swimming. As a result, amoeba burrowed through her corneas, causing permanent damage that led to blindness. The single-cell bug, called Acanthamoeba, can survive in tap water, swimming pools and hot tubs.

Dr. Tim Hillson, chair of the Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, says although such a case is rare, it underscores the importance of using contact lenses as prescribed. Hillson says that because contact lenses are worn directly on the eye, they can create an environment ripe for infection, corneal
ulcers and even blindness.

He says the key to preventing such problems is to use a commercially prepared lens cleaning solution and to remove lenses nightly.

With the variety of contact lenses now available, including those marketed for continuous week- and month long wear, eye specialists have been focused on educating patients about the importance of proper eye and lens care.

``The take-away message from this incredibly unfortunate story is that patients must clean their lenses properly and take them out at night,'' Hillson said in a statement Tuesday.

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