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Acanthamoeba Keratitis: Health Education

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 22nd October 2019.

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Photo of Mark Pritchard Mark Pritchard Conservative, The Wrekin

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to work with manufacturers of contact lenses to educate people on how to minimise the risk of contracting Acanthamoeba Keratitis.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is responsible for monitoring the safety of all healthcare products in the UK.

Following reports of infections that have led to sight loss due to Acanthamoeba Keratitis (AK), the MHRA participated in the Love your Lenses Campaign organised by the General Optical Council with involvement and support from manufacturers and opticians. The main aim of this campaign is to increase the effectiveness of aftercare information given to contact lens wearers. Details of the campaign can be found at the following link:

https://www.loveyourlenses.com/

The MHRA’s website also highlights the risks of AK and offers guidance and advice for patients to prevent injury and infection. The website can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/medical-devices-information-for-users-and-patients

In the United Kingdom, the Opticians Act restricts the sale and supply of contact lenses, including ‘zero powered’ (plano) contact lenses, to registered optometrists, dispensing opticians, and medical practitioners. An optometrist examining a patient wishing to wear contact lenses has a duty to assess the patient's suitability for contact lenses and provide the patient with an appropriate lens care regimen, including information on the care, wearing, treatment, cleaning and maintenance of the lens or lenses.

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