CONTACT lenses can sometimes be difficult to put in and take out.
But one woman claimed that a simple mistake left her blind in one eye.
Kyra Smith said she washed it lens in tap water before returning it to the eye in March 2021.
A 25-year contract in just a few weeks acanthamoebic keratitis – a species that threatens the infection of the cornea.
Now she is completely blind in one eye and warns others of the danger.
The dentist’s office worker explained that she put in her contacts to go to work and felt like her left eye was going to pop, but didn’t think much of it.
Kira, who lives in New MexicoUSA, said: “When I got home that night after my shift, I took out my contact lenses and my eye was noticeably red, but at the time it didn’t hurt or anything.
“I just thought it had something to do with my contacts because they can be uncomfortable and irritate my eyes.
“The next day I woke up and my eye was redder and by nightfall it started to hurt more and then I started to worry.
“The next day I went to the eye doctor and he couldn’t give me a definitive answer as to what was going on, but thought it might be some kind of infection so he gave me eye drops.”
Kira went home and felt pain in her eye and said she was sensitive to light.
Because of this, she returned to the eye doctor, who examined her again.
He looked at her eye with a microscope and exclaimed, “What’s that?”, which Kira said “scared her a lot.”
She said: “After six weeks of back and forth they still couldn’t tell me what was wrong with my eye – at one point they told me it could be herpes and gave me medicine but it didn’t work.
“After that it all went downhill – my light sensitivity got so bad I couldn’t be outside or look at my phone and it was moving into my other eye so even using the good eye was very painful.
“I started losing my vision in April and it was very fast after that – it started as a blurry spot in the corner of my eye and spread and within two weeks my vision was completely gone.”
After seeing another specialist, she was told she had acampheb.
What is acanthamoeba keratitis?
Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) is an infection of the cornea.
It is caused by a common microscopic organism called Acanthamoeba, which is commonly found in bodies of water such as lakes, oceans, and rivers.
It also lives in household tap water, swimming pools, hot tubs, soil and air.
AK is most common in people who carry contact lenses.
This is because they most likely used a solution that did not clean their lenses effectively, or their lenses were contaminated with water.
However, anyone with corneal damage is susceptible.
What are the signs to be aware of?
In accordance with CooperVisionsymptoms include:
- sensitivity to light and excessive tearing
- blurred vision with red eyes and pain
- a feeling that something is in your eye
- severe headaches
However, they said this was problematic because she had suffered for more than six weeks without treatment.
“I was scared and very emotional because I didn’t know what it meant for me and my vision. It was very difficult to deal with,” she added.
At that time, Kira worked in Florida in the tourism industry.
She had to move her mom into her own apartment to care for her, as she was unable to work or perform basic tasks for herself for five months due to the loss of vision in one eye.
The sensitivity to pressure and light in Kira’s left eye even transferred to her “good” right eye, forcing her to board up all the windows in her apartment and avoid daylight entirely, except for doctor’s appointments.
Doctors prescribed her an intensive course of treatment antibioticsantiviral, antifungal, steroid and eye drops to fight the infection.
In April of this year, they said they had eradicated the parasite, so Kyrie underwent a cornea transplant to restore her sight.
But the parasite was still alive and infected the new cornea.
THE SECOND OPERATION
To this day, she is still blind in her left eye, but hopes to have a second transplant.
She recalls: “I couldn’t do anything for myself, my mother even had to do my hair. Towards the end I started to feel very overwhelmed by everything.
“They are [doctors] were concerned that my eye had become infected again and it had responded to the medication, so that means the parasite is still there and active.
“So now everything has to stabilize before I can do another transplant – they can’t tell me when I can do it, it just depends on when the parasite dies.
“Things are starting to improve and they expect me to regain most of my vision after the transplant.”
She now has weekly check-ups and appointments medicine fight infection.
After the ordeal, she vowed never to wash her contact lenses in tap water again and urges others to be careful not to expose their lenses to harmful bacteria.
Kira said: “I didn’t expect it to happen – I knew it was bad to shower or swim in them, but I didn’t know that simply rinsing the case with the contacts in tap water could also cause something like this.
“Now I wear glasses all the time. I have been no contact since I started having symptoms.
“I don’t think it will completely prevent me from wearing contact lenses when I get my sight back, but I’m just more aware of what can happen.
“I definitely won’t be using monthly contacts again or using tap water to rinse the housing.
“My advice is always to listen to your eye doctor and never neglect your lenses – there are a lot more things that can happen and they can happen very quickly.
“So it’s important to understand the risks and understand that wearing contacts is a privilege and you should take care of your eyes.”