Eye Health

Updated 08 March 2018

Doctors find 27 contact lenses in woman's eye

Doctors intending to perform cataract surgery on a 67-year-old woman in Britain found something unexpected, 27 contact lenses in one eye.

Doctors intending to perform cataract surgery on a 67-year-old woman in Britain found something rather unexpected: 17 contact lenses mashed together in her right eye.

In a case report published in the British Medical Journal, the doctors said that the woman had worn monthly disposable contact lenses for 35 years; she had "deep set eyes" and poorer vision in that eye, which they said might have contributed to a failure to remove some of the lenses.

The doctors said the 17 lenses were bound together by mucus. A further 10 were found by the surgeon using a microscope. Rupal Morjaria, a specialist trainee in ophthalmology, said the "large mass" would have caused quite a lot of irritation. The patient had chalked it up to old age and dry eye, Morjaria said.

Improper use of contact lenses can cause damage

A previous study mentioned on Health24 showed that unsafe use of contact lenses can contribute to serious eye damage. Sleeping with contact lenses or leaving them in for too long can trigger serious eye injuries. Sleeping with your contact lenses in can also increase your risk of eye infection. And infection and even blindness can stem from the use of non-prescriptive, decorative contact lenses.

Use your contact lenses correctly

But don't let that put you off your contact lenses for good. Contact lenses provide excellent vision correction if you take care of them properly:

  • Never keep contact lenses in for longer than the prescribed amount of time.
  • Always store contact lenses in the proper storage, in the correct fluid.
  • Always wash your hands properly before handling contact lenses.

Take them out properly

Taking contact lenses out before going to sleep or after wearing them for a certain amount of time is very important. But there is a correct way:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Roll your eyes upwards and pull the lower lid outwards and downwards with your middle finger.
  • Place your middle finger on your eyelid and the tip of your index finger on the lower half of the lens.
  • Slide the contact lens downwards from the cornea onto the white of the eye.
  • Compress the contact lens using your thumb and index finger to break the seal that attaches it against the eye.
  • Clean and sterilise or discard, according to the manufacturer's or optometrist's instructions.

Read more: 

Glasses and contact lenses

Worn out contact lenses?

'My novelty contact lenses ripped my cornea'


Ask the Expert


Megan Goodman qualified as an optometrist from the University of Johannesburg. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Stellenbosch University. She has a keen interest in ocular pathology and evidence based medicine as well as contact lenses.

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