Anyone who has ever worn a contact lens can pretty much attest to the fact that they can be super uncomfortable — especially if you get something in your eye, scratch the lens or even leave it in for too long. That’s why doctors recommend not to wear those suckers for long periods of time or overnight.
But in one of the strangest medical cases ever reported, doctors in Britain removed not one, not two, but 27 disposable contact lenses from a 67-year-old’s eye last November. They were prepping the woman for cataract surgery when they discovered what was recently reported in the British Medical Journal as a “blueish mass bound together by mucus.” It turns out that mass was actually 17 contact lenses that the woman completely forgot about at some point during her 35-year run of wearing them.
Beyond that, the medical professionals found an extra 10 lenses wedged in there as well.
“She was quite shocked. When she was seen two weeks after I removed the lenses she said her eyes felt a lot more comfortable,” Doctor Rupal Morjaria told Optometry Today. “She thought her previous discomfort was just part of old age and dry eye.”
The woman, who remains unidentified, had supposedly stopped going to see the optometrist some time ago, and had just learned to live with the discomfort. It’s amazing what the human body can adjust to… and what we can ignore if we give ourselves an explanation or an excuse, isn’t it?
Still, you have to wonder how the heck this happened in the first place. Did the woman just keep forgetting that she had already put a lens in? Had it floated to the back of her eye and she just assumed it fell out? And if that’s the case, wouldn’t she have some questions about why her lenses kept falling out?
She did consult an optometrist for an eye exam prior to her surgery, but somehow, they didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary.
“In this day and age, when it is so easy to purchase contact lenses online, people become lax about having regular check ups,” Morjaria added in the interview. “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.”
Obviously, the woman’s cataract surgery was postponed following the discovery — there was too much of a risk of infection after the doctors removed the mass. But the removal of those lenses alone would have been a great source of relief.
Cataracts aside, this woman was extremely lucky. Now please excuse us while we go and reschedule that overdue optometrist visit.