I have a very good relationship with my optometrists – so much so that I still have not found a Cape Town-based optometrist. At my recent vision test (my vision is significantly worse, again) I mentioned cutting back on my contact lens use and relying more on my glasses.
When asked why, I told the optometrist that it was to minimise HIV-transmission risks. He still looked confused, so I explained more in detail. In hospital, getting bodily fluids to the eyes is a very real risk. Transmission rates of HIV are much lower with splash injuries than with needle stick injuries, but it is still not a risk anybody wants to take.
We have been told that contact lens wearers have a greater risk of transmission in a splash-incident than non-contact lens wearers, given that the contact lens wearer’s cornea may have small irritations, inflammatory reactions and stromal or epithelial thinning.
I kind of just accepted it as truth, but my optometrist had never heard of this theory before. A literature search did not reveal any studies on the matter either. The most I got was that individuals wearing contact lenses at the time of the splash incident should keep the lens in the eye while rinsing it, as it acts as an additional barrier.
Now I am wondering: is this just an urban legend passed from one student to the other? The optometrist said that he would ask around. Does anyone here have any idea?