A woman in Ireland is now blind in one eye because she wore her contacts in the shower.
Mother-of-two Suzanne Dunne began noticing pain in her eye on July 20. Barely four hours after she’d taken a shower, it had become a severe infection.
Dunne soon went to bed, not knowing she’d be blind in that eye when she woke up just a few hours later.
“At 7:30 p.m. I said I was going to bed and then at 1 a.m. I woke up and I was blind,” she told the Irish Mirror. “I didn’t know what was happening because everything was black. There’s so many power cuts in Donabate as it is so I thought it was that, but deep down I knew there was something wrong.”
Horrified, Dunne called her husband, who began screaming when he saw his wife and immediately called an ambulance.
Dunne spent the next 16 days in the hospital after learning she had Acanthamoeba keratitis, a rare eye infection caused by a parasite invading the cornea.
In order to kill the infection and keep it from progressing, hospital staff had to pour bleach into Dunne’s eye every day.
“The staff were very good. They had to put a bleach in my eye and they told me to count to 10 the pain was so severe,” she explained. “They said, ‘Okay we’ve managed to deaden the nerves and clean them so we’ll be able to save the eye, but we’ll just have to keep you here’. So I was on morphine, the lot. The pain was like a searing hot knife through my eye.”
“They were going to take the eye out,” she added. “They were saying this is the Acanthamoeba virus and it has to go.”
Dunne soon learned she contracted the parasite because she’d worn her contact lenses in the shower.
Hospital staff explained that the warm temperatures meant parasites were in the water, and a parasite had found its way between Dunne’s eyes and her contacts.
“It can only happen a contact lens wearer because the contact lens creates a vacuum in the eye. So if anything goes in behind it it makes it cling onto it,” she said.
The future of Dunne’s sight is still unknown. While she is using drops every half hour, only one of her eyes was able to be saved in time, and everything is still black.
“It’s not irreversible,” she said. “It will do some form of damage as in scaring of the cornea and it will never come back to the way it was in one eye. They saved the right quick enough.”
Now, Dunne hopes her story can serve as a warning for others who may be showering with their contact lenses in.
“It’s just there’s no warnings out there and I’ve met two people who have got contact lenses and haven’t been told about it,” she said. “I wanted to highlight it because I don’t want people to go through the same thing I went through. In the winter time you’re safe.
“In warm conditions and because we haven’t had heat like this the parasite multiplies and it’s rampant. Even though the parasite is dead the damage is done,” she warned.
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