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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!
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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!