Patients with a contact lens lost in the eye are not a rare occurrence for ophthalmologists. However, 27 lenses at the same time may be another story!
The case of a 67-year-old female who had 27 disposable contacts in her right eye discovered just prior to cataract surgery was recently published in the BMJ. The patient had not complained about any severe eye discomfort.
Seventeen of the lenses formed together in a blue mass, which Dr. Richard Crombie, a consultant anesthetist at the Solihull Hospital, United Kingdom, discovered while he was preparing the eye for surgery. The other 10 lenses were found during an additional examination.
Dr. Crombie noticed the blue mass under the upper eyelid while applying the anesthetic, said Dr. Rupal Morjaria, an ophthalmic specialist trainee and lead author of the paper.
“It’s important to stress that people should realize that contact lenses are prescribed medical devices and need to be treated with respect,” said Thomas Steinemann, MD, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), and professor of ophthalmology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland. “If you do that and you take care of your eyes, you’re not going to get into trouble.”
The patient in this case had been wearing contact lenses for over 35 years. When she tried to remove a lens from her eye and couldn’t find it, she assumed she dropped it and would put in another lens.
After removal of the lenses, the cataract surgery was postponed for two weeks.
“This is an opportunity to examine [patients’] own habits about how they wear and care for their contact lenses,” Dr. Steinemann said. “Properly done, contact lenses are a great way of correcting vision.”
Not the first case
Though 27 contact lenses may be a record for lenses stuck in an eye, it is not rare for a lens to be lost in the eye, said Kevin Hinshaw, MD, Eye Specialists of West County, St. Louis. “I don’t think it’s terribly uncommon,” Dr. Hinshaw added, “but you shouldn’t be finding that out on the [operating] table.”
Multiple low power lenses are more likely to go unnoticed, he pointed out.