Have you been diligent in removing your contact lenses at the end of the day? If not, this may be the horror story that will jolt you out of this bad habit.

Last October, Insider reported shocking news of an ophthalmologist removing an alarming amount of 23 contact lenses from a patient’s eye.

Based in Newport Beach, California, Dr Katerina Kurteeva of California Eye Associates was approached by a patient in her mid-70s who came into the clinic saying she felt she had something in her eye that was causing pain and blurred vision.

23 contact lenses found in woman's eye

Credit: Dr Katerina Kurteeva

This patient wore daily contact lenses and had skipped annual checkup appointments for two years.

Amongst all the various possibilities that could cause the patient pain (an eyelash, an infection, a scratched cornea, debris from makeup, or a piece of broken contact lens) Dr Kurteeva found a total of 23 pieces of contact lenses stuck and hidden deep underneath her eyelid.

The examination’s video was posted online and went viral immediately.

In an interview with TODAY, Dr Kurteeva shared: “I was just amazed myself. I was like, this is kind of crazy. I’ve never seen this before. All the contacts were hidden underneath the upper lid in a pancake stack, so to speak.”

doctor found 23 contact lenses stuck in woman's eye

Credit: Dr Katerina Kurteeva

Optometrists from all over the world, from Europe to Mexico and South America, were using the video to educate everyone about removing their daily contact lenses from their eyes every night.

As we should all know, dailies are light, flimsy lenses that should not be used for more than 24 hours.

What could have happened if the patient didn’t seek help?

According to Dr Kurteeva, the corneal nerve endings can be gradually de-sensitised for those who wear contact lenses over a long period of time.

Hence, the patient, who had been wearing lenses for 30 years, didn’t feel the 23 contact lenses as sharply as one would.

contact lenses eye care

It could also have been due to her age, as your eyelid fornix (the least sensitive space of your eyes) gets deeper as you age. That means you wouldn’t be very bothered by anything stuck in your eye.

Fortunately, the patient did not lose her vision, scratched her cornea, or get an infection.

Dr Kurteeva’s theory was that the woman probably thought the lenses were removed by sliding them off to the side but was pushing them into her upper lid instead.

How to take care of your eyes if you wear contact lenses?

If reading everything above scared you as much as it scared us, take it as a reminder to be very mindful about contact lens wear.

how to take care of contact lenses

Credit: Nataliya Vaitkevich/Pexels

Here are some tips from us and Dr Kurteeva herself:

  • If it’s your first time getting contact lenses, seek proper initial fitting and contact lens handling training.
  • Always wash your hands before handling lenses, either putting them in or taking them out.
  • Never let water come into contact with your contact lenses, lest it swells and scratches your eyes.
  • If you wear dailies, tie your eye care to daily dental care by removing your contacts before or after brushing your teeth so you’ll never forget.
  • Never sleep in your contact lenses! Dispose of your daily contact lenses before heading to bed. Use preservative-free artificial tears when handling lenses.
  • Use proper contact lens storage solution for extended-wear contact lenses.
  • Use eye drops formulated for contact lenses to reduce any symptoms of dry eyes.
  • Skip contacts once a week. This allows oxygen to reach your eyes and gives them time to rest.
  • Replace your contact lenses as needed and as recommended. Wearing them for too long can lead to infections
  • If your eyes turn red from wearing contact lenses, see your ophthalmologist or optometrist for an exam to make sure that there’s no infection.

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Feature image credit: Nataliya Vaitkevich/Pexels, Dr Katerina Kurteeva