Parasite In Eyeball: Contact Lens Infection Eats Girl’s Eye; Are Your Lenses Safe?

By iScienceTimes Staff Reporter on March 28, 2013 7:18 PM EDT

"Parasite in eyeball." It's a nightmare phrase and a nightmare story, but it's real and it's the most horrifying thing you'll read all week. Ashley Hide, a high school senior from the great state of Florida, has had a really, really bad week: after weeks of persistent eye irritation, she found out that a parasite in her contact lenses was literally eating her eye. And, because that is really, horribly disgusting, we have decided not to include any pictures of it in this post. Count yourself lucky or hit the links if you really need to know.

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A perfectly normal, healthy eye, unlike one filled with parasites, is perfectly pleasant to look at. (Image: Creative Commons)
A perfectly normal, healthy eye, unlike one filled with parasites, is perfectly pleasant to look at. (Image: Creative Commons)

The parasite in eyeball problem took some time to develop. Hide's problem was simple: she, like infinite other people, wears contact lenses. But, unlike most of those people, Ashley didn't change her contact lenses regularly. This is, apparently, a big no-no (which is news to a bespectacled fellow like myself). Turns out this is no idle rule. Ashley developed two symptoms nobody ever wants to have: chronic inflammation of the eye and blurred vision. The latter in particular is the opposite of what contact lenses are for, so eventually Ashley went to the doctor.

That's where the parasite in eyeball story takes a turn for the worse. The doctors couldn't figure out what was going on, so the doctors did a pretty horrible, gruesome thing. They scraped the surface of her eye. And then they drilled into her eye. It was medically necessary to figure out what was going on, and the doctors soon discovered that what they had just done to the obviously traumatized high schooler was hardly the worst of it.

Because her contact lenses had a parasites in them - and, since her contact lenses hadn't been taken out in weeks, that led to the parasite in eyeball condition (this is the official scientific name, obviously). Technically, it was an acanthamoeba. The doctors began treatment immediately.

The parasite in eyeball problem would have been much worse, according to doctors, if it hadn't been caught. Ashley would almost certainly have lost her vision and become blind in one eye. Luckily, they did catch it; she has months of unpleasant treatment ahead of her, and now her name is all over the Internet as a person who forgot to change her contact lenses, but she'll be fine.

The lesson here, the lesson she has learned very well, is always to use disposable contact lenses. Only one question remains: will Ashley Hide get an endorsement contract from a disposable contact lens company?

We certainly hope so.

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