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27 Contact Lenses Found in Woman’s Eye

As doctors prepped a 67-year-old woman for cataract surgery, they made a shocking discovery – 17 contact lenses stuck together. Then they found 10 more.

It’s unclear how long the lenses were in her eye, but she had worn monthly disposable lenses for 35 years, according the medical team who made the discovery.

“This is actually not that uncommon,” said Thomas L. Steinemann, MD, a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “I’ve had patients with one contact lens stuck in their eye but never this many. Typically, in a case like this, the patient would experience a burning sensation like dry eye. This is why routine eye exams are so important.”

The woman attributed the irritation she felt to dry eye and getting older. Her medical team speculated that her poor vision and deep-set eyes may have played a role. The clump of lenses was lodged so high up under the eyelid that they were difficult to see. They detected it only after they inserted a speculum in the eye to prepare her for surgery.

“Having two contacts in one eye is surprisingly common, having three or more is pretty extraordinary,” said ophthalmologist Jeff Pettey, MD. He says the increased use of daily contact lenses may be contributing to this problem. “Patients can simply forget they have a contact in their eye or think a contact has fallen out of the eye when it is actually still in the eye. Then they place a new contact in, right on top of the old one.”

Here are four warning signs that you may have a trapped contact lenses:

  • Sharp or scratchy pain
  • Burning sensation
  • Dry eye
  • Redness

Here are four habits all contact lens wearers should follow to keep their eyes healthy:

  • Wash your hands before touching contact lenses or your eye
  • Never sleep in contact lenses
  • Never “top off” solution — mixing the old solution with fresh
  • Never swim or shower in lenses

An easy way to avoid a contact lens mishap is to have your eyes examined regularly by an ophthalmologist or eye care professional. It’s the safest most effective way to ensure your eyes remain healthy. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends contact lens wearers be examined by an eye care provider annually, and more often as needed.

Jul. 17, 2017
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