Imagine wearing disposable contact lenses for 35 years and having poor sight, just because 27 of them were somehow stuck in your eyes. This is what happened to a 67-year-old patient who was about to have a cataract surgery. Initially, doctors revealed a ‘bluish mass’ of 17 contact lenses, and that was not the biggest surprise. Another 10 were later found upon further examination at Solihull Hospital. The woman was surprised to hear this, but doctors were absolutely shocked. The case was recently reported in the British Medical Journal, but happened in November last year.
Specialist trainee ophthalmologist, Rupal Morjarial, who dealt with the case at the hospital near Birmingham, told Optometry Today: “None of us have ever seen this before”.
The woman did not visit her doctors as she should have.
In an article in the journal, doctors said the patient had worn monthly disposable lenses for 35 years. “She had poorer vision in the right eye and deep set eyes, which might have contributed to the unusually large number of retained foreign bodies,” the article said.
“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,” said Rupal in the journal.
After the doctors made the discovery, they postponed the surgery as it increased the risk of endophthalmitis.
“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,” said Ms Morjaria.
Ms Morjaria said that reporting the case was a matter of public awareness.
The doctor also stated: “The patient 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.”
“In this day and age, when it is so easy to purchase contact lenses online, people become lax about having regular check ups,” she added.
There are also online tutorial videos to help people to properly remove your lenses. This one is one of them: