- The Straits Times
Have you ever fallen asleep without removing your contact lenses, only to panic the next morning when you realise that you’re unable to retrieve them?
If you’re guilty of this habit, then you would know how uncomfortable it is to wake up to having contact lenses stuck in your eye, especially when you have to locate the missing lens, and then peel the rigid piece of plastic off the dry surface of your eyeball while trying your best not to break it.
Now, imagine the surprise a group of UK eye specialists had, when they found 27 contact lenses in their 67-year-old patient’s eye during an examination at Solihull Hospital in England.
Thought to be suffering from discomfort due to dry eye and old age, the woman was expected to undergo cataracts surgery when the group of surgeons found the “blueish mass”.
After the initial discovery of 17 lenses bound together by mucus, trainee ophthalmologist Rupal Morjaria told Optometry Today that they were shocked to discover an additional 10 stuck in the eye.
“It was such a large mass. All the 17 contact lenses were stuck together. We were really surprised that the patient didn’t notice it because it would cause quite a lot of irritation while it was sitting there,” Ms Morjaria elaborated.
Despite wearing monthly disposable lenses for nearly four decades, the pensioner did not attend regular appointments with an optometrist and was reportedly unaware that the lenses were missing.
Ms Morjaria also shared with the science journal that the patient said her eyes felt “more comfortable” after the removal of the painful clump of lenses.
She said in their report: “She was quite shocked. When she was seen two weeks after I removed the lenses, she said her eyes felt a lot more comfortable.”
Unfortunately, the woman’s scheduled cataracts surgery had to be postponed due to her increased risk of developing endophthalmitis- an inflammation of the eye’s interior.
“Because she had harboured these contact lenses in her eye for an unknown length of time, if we had operated she would have had a lot of bacteria around her conjunctiva (membrane lining the inside of the eyelid),” added Ms Morjaria.
The case, which occurred in November last year, was detailed earlier this month (July 5) in the British Medical Journal.
“In this day and age, when it is so easy to purchase contact lenses online, people become lax about having regular check-ups,” Ms Morjaria said in a report by The Mirror.
“Contact lenses are used all the time, but if they are not appropriately monitored we see people with serious eye infections that can cause them to lose their sight.”