UK Woman Had a Contact Lens Lodged in Her Eye for 28 Years

She mistakenly though it had fallen out.

Would you rather have 27 contact lenses stuck in your eye, or just one contact lens stuck in your eye for 28 years? Both of these bizarre situations have happened, but one of them stood out for the sheer amount of time that went by before the patient realized something had gone wrong. As Inverse reported in August, a 42-year-old woman in the United Kingdom had a rigid, gas-permeable contact lens dislodged in a badminton accident as a teen, only to have it reappear 28 years later when a cyst had formed around it, causing her considerable discomfort.

“The patient assumed that the RGP lens fell out and was lost,” wrote her doctors in a case report in the British Medical Journal. “However, it can be inferred that the lens migrated into the eyelid and resided there asymptomatically for 28 years.” Eventually, the symptoms showed up in the form of a droopy eyelid.

This is #10 on Inverse’s list of the 25 Most WTF stories of 2018.

This woman's drooping left eyelid turned out to be the result of a migrated contact lens from 28 years ago.
This woman's drooping left eyelid turned out to be the result of a migrated contact lens from 28 years ago.

A week later, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reiterated some of the potential risks of wearing contact lenses in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. While the British woman didn’t mean to sleep in her contact lenses, the CDC noted that sleeping in contacts can bring about problems pretty similar to what she experienced.

According to the CDC’s report, approximately one-third of contact lens wearers sleep in their lenses, which it says is a huge no-no. Emphasizing this point, the CDC outlined multiple cases in which sleeping in contacts had resulted in serious eye issues, including corneal infections.

“To illustrate their serious health implications, six cases of contact lens–related corneal infection, in which sleeping in lenses was reported as the main risk factor, are presented,” CDC doctors write. “Consequences of infection reported among the identified cases included the need for frequent administration of antibiotic eye drops, multiple follow-up medical appointments, and permanent eye damage.”

corneal infection
This is an example of what a typical contact lens-related cornel infection looks like.

In one case, which involved a corneal infection, the patient actually ended up with worse vision than before he had started wearing contact lenses.

All of this is not to say that contact lenses are unsafe, just that if you wear them, make sure you take proper care of them. And if you think one fell out, make extra sure you confirm that it’s not still in your eye.

As 2018 draws to a close, Inverse is counting down the 25 stories that made us go WTF. Some are gross, some are amazing, and some are just, well, WTF. In our ranking from least to most WTF, this has been #10. Read the original article here.

Watch the full 25 WTF countdown in the video below.

Media via BMJ Case Reports 2018, CDC/ Deborah S. Jacobs, Jia Yin