Contact lenses have come to stay. And though it’s a cute way to use ‘glasses,’ experts do agree that those who use contact lenses risk terrible experiences if they don’t use the device according to prescription.
As reported in the peer-reviewed magazine, Optometry Today, a 67-year-old woman who had been scheduled to have cataract surgery gave her surgeon the shock of her life: her eye was found to be harbouring 27 contact lenses!
The event reportedly happened at Solihull Hospital, United Kingdom.
She had complained poor vision occasioned by an itchy eye, and her surgeon, after some tests, had concluded that her eye needed to be operated on because of cataract.
In the course of examining her, though, 17 contact lenses were found her eye. The lenses had melded together in what was described as a ‘bluish mass.’
Just when the surgeon thought she had seen it all, upon a second inspection, an additional 10 lenses were found in the same eye, bringing the grand total to 27.
The ageing woman said she didn’t know that her contact lenses, over the years, had been ‘disappearing’ into her eyes, and had thought that the discomfort she was feeling in the eye might have been due to old age or a dry eye.
The team working on the operation, which included an ophthalmologist with 20 years of experience, said that they had never seen anything like that.
“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 Rupal Morjaria, a specialist trainee, says.
She added, “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.”
The scheduled surgery was immediately cancelled, as the patient was at an increased risk of endophthalmitis — an inflammation of the interior of the eye and a possible complication of all intraocular surgeries, particularly cataract surgery, with possible loss of vision and the eye itself..
The patient in question had been wearing disposable lenses for 35 years but had not been attending regular optician appointments.
Despite this, her pre-operative assessment did not report any symptoms that are usually linked to missing lenses.
“She was quite shocked. When she was seen two weeks after I removed the lenses, she said her eyes felt a lot more comfortable.
“She thought her previous discomfort was just part of old age and dry eye,” Morjaria says.
The clinical and regulatory officer at the Association of Optometrists, Henry Leonard, noted that the case showed the need for contact lens wearers to seek professional care on a regular basis to avoid any discomfort or infections.
“Patients do sometimes present with a contact lens stuck under their upper eyelid, particularly if they are new to contact lens wear, or have problems with dexterity, but finding this many lenses stuck in someone’s eye is exceedingly rare.
“Most patients would experience significant discomfort and redness, and be at risk of eye infections” Leonard said.