A fungal eye infection is spreading through the US. Contact wearers seem especially vulnerable to this disease. It can cause serious eye problems and even blindness. This fungus is uncharacteristic of fungal eye infections normally seen by eye specialists in several ways. Eye experts are puzzled. The culprit is the fungus fusarium. Fusarium is commonly found in plant material and soil.
Contact lens wearers should be especially careful to follow good hygiene measures such as changing solutions daily, washing hands before handling contacts or touching the eye, and replacing storage cases every three months.
Everyone should be careful to wash hands before touching eyes. Always use a clean cloth to cleanse the eyes. Sharing towels can also spread infection.
Symptoms of fungal infection in the eyes can include blurry vision, pain or redness, increased sensitivity to light and excessive discharge. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor immediately. Treatment (drops) should be started as soon as possible to prevent scarring or blindness. Drops may be necessary for 2 to 3 months.
To read more about fungus, mold, yeast, and other organisms in this classification, see my researched article:
The fascinating fungi kingdom on my AllergyNursing.com website. I work as an allergy nurse and one of the molds we test to see if people are allergic to is fusarium. But this eye fungus is not an allergic reaction. It is much more serious than a typical allergic reaction (runny nose, itchy eyes) to the fungus or mold. I do not have any specialized medical expertise in dealing with eye diseases. My specialty is allergy. See your doctor immediately if you notice any unusual symptoms with your eyes.
For more information on fusarium eye fungus, see:
Eye Fungus Has Experts Baffled
This video from ABC News shows more of what the disease can do and how eye specialists are trying to deal with it:
New Eye Fungus Spreads
As you have probably heard by now, it is thought that this fungal eye infection is caused by contact lens solution. ReNu Moisture Loc has been taken off the market. You can read the CDC writeup about this. Summit Vision Center has published a “breakdown taken from an Optometric Physician email newsletter” here.
Photo credit: Maja Prodan