A woman came in with a “bluish foreign body” in her eye to undergo cataract surgery, and stunned doctors when the object turned out to be a mass of contact lenses.
Medical staff members at Solihull Hospital in the United Kingdom were preparing the 67-year-old for a routine cataract surgery when they discovered she had 27 contact lenses in her eye, NPR reports. Rupal Morjaria, specialist trainee ophthalmologist, said, “She was quite shocked.”
Morjaria said that she and her team were starting to inject anesthesia in the woman’s eye when they found 17 contact lenses clumped together. They pulled out another 10 lenses. To their surprise, the patients had not complained of any irritation.
The doctor added, “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.”
The patient had apparently not complained of any other problem aside from cataracts. She had been wearing disposable contact lenses for over 35 years.
Morjaria said she hopes the incident will raise awareness among those who wear contact lenses to get an eye exam more frequently, and in person. Many patients now turn to online exams instead, which can’t check everything physically. She added that this should also serve as a red light to optometrists, as the mass of contact lenses did not produce a noticeable infection.
Contact lenses, when kept in the eyes for too long or placed without cleaning, are prone to infections and other conditions.
One physician commented on the study, “It does make one wonder about the appropriateness and completeness of the examination of the referring clinician!”
The woman’s cataract surgery has been postponed to allow bacteria that had gathered in her eye to clear up.
The report was published in the British Medical Journal.