Everyone knows that floods are responsible for significant damage to property and wildlife, but here’s another concern to add to the list: vision. During a flood, an increased amount of water-borne pathogens are released, creating a dangerous situation for people’s eyes – particularly those of contact-wearers. The American Optometric Association indicates that these pathogens can cause infection, or even loss of vision, in flood victims. If you find yourself forced to make contact with flood water, the AOA suggests you immediately remove contacts or wear goggles to protect your eyes. It’s also important to be ultra-vigilant about washing your hands before touching your eye and using approved sterile products to disinfect lenses.
Tap water should not be assumed clean or used to store contact lenses. If you are exposed to flood water, the AOA strongly recommends that you contact your eye doctor immediately if you notice symptoms such as: lasting red or irritated eyes; pain around the eyes; increased sensitivity to light; blurred vision; or excessive tearing. These conditions can have a long-term impact on your health and vision, so make sure you consult your optometrist if you feel threatened by a flood.