Medics have discovered a “blueish mass” of 17 contact lenses in the eye of a woman bade for cataract operation at a hospital in the United Kingdom (UK).
The 67-year-old patient was unaware that the contact lenses were missing, and later told surgeons that she thought her discomfort, and reason for the cataract operation, was due to dry eye and old age.
“None of us has ever seen this before,” specialist trainee ophthalmologist, Rupal Morjaria, told Optometry Today.
“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,” she said further.
Morjaria told OT that another 10 individual contact lenses were discovered in the woman’s eye following further examination at Solihull Hospital.
The operating team, which included an ophthalmologist with more than 20 years of experience, were startled by the discovery, she explained.
The woman had worn disposable contact lenses for the past 35 years but had not attended regular optometrist appointments.
Morjaria said the patient, who was as well shocked at the discovery, did not report any symptoms linked to the missing lenses in her pre-operative assessment.
“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 shared.
The cataract surgery was later postponed following the discovery due to an increased 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,” Morjaria said.
The specialist trainee ophthalmologist emphasized that reporting on the incident is also about public awareness.
“In this day and age, when it is so easy to purchase contact lenses online, people become lax about having regular check-ups,” she said.
“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,” stressed Morjaria.