Surgeon finds 27 contact lenses in woman’s eye

 Photo: Getty Images

In news that makes me so very happy to be wearing glasses, a surgeon has found 27 contact lenses in a woman's eye while preparing her for cataract surgery. As someone who has never worn contact lenses, I've always wondered how users remembered to take theirs out, but to forget 27 times?

Optometry Today reported a 67-year-old woman went into hospital for surgery, and an eagle-eyed doctor spotted a bluish foreign body in her eye. (If your doctor couldn't spot 27 contact lenses in your eye when they were about to operate on it, you'd probably be well within your rights to be looking for another surgeon.)

That bluish foreign body turned out to be 17 contact lenses stuck together.

When they went in to investigate further, doctors found another 10 contact lenses stuck behind the woman's eye.

"None of us have ever seen this before," 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."

I'm imagining it being the difference between having a bed with just a sheet on it, and then adding 17 blankets. How could you not notice that? And my other question is: how did doctors see a cataract in the woman's eye, but not all those contact lenses?

The woman had been wearing contact lenses for 35 years, but didn't get regular check ups. She told doctors she had noticed some dryness and itching, but not that any lenses had gone missing.

The good news is that the 27 contact lenses haven't done any lasting damage to her eyes. And, unsurprisingly, the woman says her eyes feel a lot better now that all those lenses are out.

Dr Morjaria published the case in the British Medical Journal because she wants to raise awareness about the importance of proper contact lens care and eye health.

Optometry Australia recommends contact lens wearers have an eye examination each year and, although they don't explicitly say this, they probably also recommend you don't stick 27 lenses in the one eye and then leave them there.