I was blinded by my contact lens - BBC News

The following story tells how Irenie Ekkeshis's got blinded by her contact lenses. When Ekkeshis's eye started to itch she just assumed it would eventually settle down. But sadly it didn't, and before long she found herself in excruciating pain and lost the sight in her eye. And the frightening cause may be nothing more than handling her contact lenses with wet fingers. The incident happened in January 2011, when Ekkeshis woke up to find her right eye was streaming with tears. So she went to the chemist's and picked up some eye drops, thinking she had a little infection that would clear up in a couple of days. But by that evening she could no longer bear to go in her kitchen because she found the fluorescent lights to be too bright. It was painful, so Ekkeshis went straight to Moorfield's Eye Hospital where doctors gave her a corneal scrape a procedure that involves taking cells from the surface of the eyeball.

Within days Ekkeshis was told that she had Acanthamoeba Keratitis, a rare but serious eye infection that is caused by a micro-organism that's common in tap water, swimming pools, and sea water. The common illness affects about 125 people in the United Kingdom every year, and the vast majority of cases are associated with the common use of contact lenses. Ekkeshis hadn't had a shower or gone swimming in her lenses but learned that even washing your hands and not drying them properly before handling contact lenses can cause it.

Ekkeshis was 12 when she decided to swap her thick glasses for contact lenses, saying that she was a self-conscious pre-teen. By the time Ekkeshis was 30, she had worn daily disposable lenses, the kind you throw away each evening, and she had never had any trouble with new lenses. But AK, in which an ameba invades the cornea which is the clear front part of the eye, turned out to be a major problem. At first, she was given antiseptic eye drops to take every hour. She was then told that as the infection had been caught early, it should be cured in a matter of weeks. But her eye didn't respond to the new treatment, and because the cornea has the highest density of pain receptors in the body, she found herself in agony. The pain for Ekkeshis got worse as the infection developed, and at times the pain was unbearable and was almost impossible to control, even with the strongest painkillers. Ekkeshis could not work and eventually quit her job as a travel company director. Her eye streamed for months until doctors started to get the eye infection under control. The pain eventually started to subside. But by now the cornea of her right eye was scarred, leaving her vision in that eye blurred.

There are things you can do to avoid this from happening to you. When it comes to contacts lens, there are some things you should and shouldn't do. To start always be sure to wash and dry your hands before handling your lenses, apply your contact lenses before you put on your makeup and keep your eyes closed when using any hairspray or other aerosols. As for the things you shouldn't do with contact lenses, never use your contact lenses for swimming, in hot tubs or water sports, unless you are wearing goggles. Also never wear your contact lenses when showering unless you keep your eyes firmly closed and never wet your contact lenses with saliva. This is just one of the new stories on the BBC site. The BBC has lots of trending videos, world news, new trends, new science news, new tech and more. **

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