Science AMA Series: I’m Dr. Jennifer Cope, a medical epidemiologist at
the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I am here to talk
about contact lenses and healthy wear and care habits. AMA!
Hello, I am a medical epidemiologist and infectious disease doctor at
CDC in the Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch. I work to prevent and
stop infections caused by free-living amebas, which are single-celled
organisms found in the environment, in water and soil. They cause
diseases ranging from a type of encephalitis, or brain infection, to
serious eye infections. I support epidemiologic, laboratory, and
communication activities related to free-living ameba infections.
Acanthamoeba is a free living ameba that can get on your contact lenses,
and lead to a painful and disruptive infection called Acanthamoeba
keratitis (AK). AK can lead to vision problems, the need for a corneal
transplant, or blindness. Luckily, AK and other contact lens-related eye
infections are largely preventable. So while I spend a lot of time
working on specific free-living ameba infections, I also work with the
CDC Healthy Contact Lens Program to help people learn about contact
lens-related eye infections and the healthy habits that can reduce your
chances of getting an eye infection. For more information about the CDC
Healthy Contact Lens Program and our contact lens recommendations, visit
our website: https://www.cdc.gov/contactlenses/index.html. I’ll be back
at 1 pm to answer your questions, ask me anything!