A Newport Beach ophthalmologist recently removed a total of 23 contact lenses from the eye of a woman in her mid-70s.
The woman said she felt something in her eye that she couldn’t get out, had blurred vision and pain, Dr. Katerina Kurteeva told Insider.
The doctor did a routine examination, but couldn’t figure out what was wrong until she used an instrument to keep both eyelids open and could use her hands to “find out what was going on.”
That’s when she saw the contact lenses stuck together.
She started pulling them out and asked her assistant to record her.
“Asking the patient to look down again, I could see a huge, dark-purple blob of contact lenses stuck to her eye. It almost looked like a second pupil,” Kurteeva explained to Insider. “I gently started using a Q-tip to peel the lenses apart one by one, like you would deal a deck of cards. They were coming out in a chain, drooping down her lid. There were a lot of contact lenses – I thought this could be my Guinness Book of World Record moment.”
She added that she had never seen anything like that in her 20 years of practice.
The patient couldn’t believe it either. After the removal was done, Kurteeva flushed the eye out and sent the patient home with anti-inflammatory drops.
“She said she felt much better already,” Kurteeva proclaimed.
She examined the various contact lenses and determined they were the kind that should not be used for more than 24 hours.
Kurteeva explained that the patient could have lost her vision, scratched her cornea or gotten an infection. She was very fortunate.
Despite that, the patient has gone back to wearing contact lenses. But she’s doing well, feeling more comfortable and can see clearly, Kurteeva said.
She added that while she doesn’t know for sure how the patient forgot to remove the contact lenses, it could have been because she had been used to wearing contact lenses for more than 30 years and that can cause desensitization.
Kurteeva indicated she shared the now-viral video to remind people of the importance of removing contact lenses every night.
“This was a happy ending, but it could have gone sour really quickly,” she told Insider.