Surgeon removes 27 missing contact lenses from woman’s eye

She went in for cataract surgery when the team discovered something completely unexpected!

These days operating on a cataract is a pretty common surgery, and for this surgeon there was no reason to expect anything out of the ordinary.

However, when they began operating on a 67-year-old woman they came across something completely out of the blue.

An object was found in the woman’s eye which was initial described as a ‘bluish mass’ but turned out to be 17 contact lenses stuck together. 

Another 10 individual contacts were found – bringing the total to 27 contact lenses.

Specialist trainee ophthalmologist, Rupal Morjaria, was part of the team during the operation and told Optometry Today ‘none of us have ever seen this before.’ 

A mass of 17 contact lenses were removed from the eye of a 67-year-old.
17 contact lenses were all stuck together in the woman’s eye. (Credit: Rupal Marjoria)

The patient had been wearing monthly disposable contact lenses for 35 years and had not gotten regular check-ups with her optometrist. 

It was such a large mass. All the 17 contact lenses were stuck together. We were really surprised that the patient didn’t notice it because it would cause quite a lot of irritation while it was sitting there,’ Morjaria explained.

When they pulled the mass apart it was made up of 17 contact lenses.
They pulled the mass apart to discover 17 lenses stuck together. (Credit: Rupal Marjoria)

The case was published in the British Medical Journal to raise awareness around eye health and contact lenses.  

Morjaria explains that with people able to buy lenses online, they’re not necessarily having them properly fitted, or getting checked by a professional, which can be very dangerous. 

‘Contact lenses are used all the time, but if they are not appropriately monitored we see people with serious eye infections that can cause them to lose their sight.’

The patient says she was uncomfortable but put it down to old age and dry eyes. After the contact lenses were removed she says she feels a lot better.

Even if your prescription is stable, it’s important to have yearly eye examinations to check for any problems. Contact lenses carry risk of infection, and other complications, so regular check ups are important if contacts are often worn.

Optometry Australia adds that regular check ups can make your life easier too: ‘As technologies evolve every year, your optometrist may suggest you upgrade to the latest material or design.’

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