For people who wear contact lenses or have particularly sensitive stomachs, you may not want to continue reading this story. In fact, it’s possibly one of the most disturbing medical stories Starts at 60 has covered in recent times.
BMJ Case Reports has revealed a woman has been walking around for 28 years with a contact lens stuck in her eye. The 42-year-old woman had been noticing swelling and drooping in her left eyelid for around six months and was eventually referred to an eye doctor after bringing up her concerns with her GP.
Initially, an MRI revealed that a small cyst was the cause of concern for the woman and she underwent surgery to have it removed.
To the shock of her ophthalmologists, the cyst burst when it removed, revealing that a hard contact lens was living inside. The lens was fragile when it was extracted from the woman’s eye and the medical team discovered it was a rigid gas permeable contact (RGP). This means it was hard but also allowed oxygen to reach the eye’s surface.
While having a contact lens stuck in your eye is horrific enough, the woman told the medical team she hadn’t been wearing the contact lens found in her years since she was a teenager. It is believed the woman was hit in the eye with a shuttle cock when she was playing badminton at the age of 14.
During the incident, the lens was never found and the woman didn’t experience any symptoms at the time to imply it had wedged itself in her eye. The woman and her family presumed it had fallen out.
The authors of the paper concluded that the lens had migrated to the patient’s left upper eyelid when she was hit in the eye with the shuttlecock. It remained there for close to three decades until it was removed.
While the woman didn’t show any symptoms for 28 years, her medical team couldn’t conclude why she began noticing swelling and discomfort after so long.
It’s hardly the first horror story sending fear to contact-wearers around the world. Last year, Optometry Today published a stomach-churning story about a 67-year-old woman who had mislaid 27 disposable contact lenses in one of her eyes.
The woman was set to undergo cataract surgery when a pre-surgery examination discovered a “blueish mass” of 17 contact lenses stuck in the woman’s eye. Further investigation found a further 10 lenses.
The news comes after the American Optometric Association (AOA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that people can cause serious vision and health problems if they don’t follow proper hygiene instructions for their lenses.
“Improper wear and care for contact lenses, illegal sales and even use of non-corrective decorative contact lenses can all be dangerous practices that could put eye health at risk,” AOA President, Samuel Pierce O.D. said in a statement. “It’s extremely important that patients get routine eye exams and only wear contact lenses that are prescribed by an eye doctor. They can help patients better understand how to obtain the full benefits of contact lenses and reduce the chances of developing complications.”