Acanthamoeba are free-living protozoa (single-celled microorganisms) that feed on bacteria and cells at the front of the eye, the cornea. This leads to inflammation, disorganisation and destruction of the cornea, blocking vision.
The vast majority of acanthamoeba keratitis occurs in contact lens wearers, and the best way to avoid contracting it is to avoid exposing lenses to water. This means they should not be run under the tap, worn in the shower or worn while swimming.
Nicole’s professional standing and background in contact lens clinical trials led to the successful endorsement of a consumer concept of “no water” labels on contact lens packaging, now available in 5 countries including the UK, USA and Australia. An investigator led industry funded Random Controlled Trial of 200 contact lens wearers by Nicole’s team showed the “no water” symbol decreased water exposure behaviour and gram negative contamination of their contact lens storage cases.
Now, thanks to Nicole and her team, many new packs of contact lenses now carry “no water” warning stickers like the one below.Cornea and Contact Lens Society of Australia
For more information, read Nicole's opinion piece at The Conversation.