Surgeons remove 27 contact lenses from woman's eye

Doctors find ‘hard mass’ of lenses stuck together in 67-year-old’s eye during routine cataract surgery

Contact lens
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The worst fear for many a contact lens wearer has been realised after a report for the British Medical Journal said that a 67-year-old woman has had 27 of them removed from one eye.

The discovery was made after the woman went to Solihull hospital in the West Midlands for routine cataract surgery.

Experts from the hospital told the BMJ "a bluish foreign body" emerged during the procedure "as a hard mass of 17 contact lenses bound together by mucus".

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Ten more were then found under further examination.

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The woman had not complained of any irritations says the BBC, but in another sterling example of the great British art of understatement she said after the contact lenses were removed that her eyes felt "a lot more comfortable".

One of the patient’s doctors, trainee ophthalmologist Rupal Morjaria of Solihull Hospital, told Optometry Today that the patient was "quite shocked" by the discovery — as were the physicians working on her case.

"None of us have seen this before," Morjaria said.

The case report said the patient had poorer vision in her right eye and deep-set eyes, which may have been a factor in the lenses becoming lost.

Association of Optometrists spokeswoman Ceri Smith-Jaynes said losing contact lenses in the eye was a common problem but they usually worked their way out.

"They are normally hiding, folded up under the top lid of the eye," she said.

"They can't go any further up than that because there is a pocket. It's the same under the bottom lid - the lens can only be in one of those places."

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But before everyone vows never to wear contact lenses again, an officer of the Association of Optometrists, Henry Leonard, told Optometry Today that most of us would immediately notice and experience discomfort if contacts went missing in our own eyes.

“Patients do sometimes present with a contact lens stuck under their upper eyelid, particularly if they are new to contact-lens wear, or have problems with dexterity, but finding this many lenses stuck in someone’s eye is exceedingly rare,” he said.

“Most patients would experience significant discomfort and redness, and be at risk of eye infections.”

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