A 42-year-old woman in the U.K. had painful swelling and drooping in her left eyelid. Something was amiss so she went to the doctors office. It was then she and the doctors discovered the source of the pain: a contact lens that had gotten stuck in her eye — 28 years ago.
She had a mysterious pea-sized lump that continues to swell, and as a result she had slight drooping in her upper eyelid, also known as ptosis. Doctors identified the lump as a cyst through an MRI, and soon after, the woman had surgery to get it removed.
Doctors removed the cyst, as planned, but once it was out, it ruptured. Wrapped inside the cyst was a cracked contact lens.
— CNN Health (@cnnhealth) August 16, 2018
The lens was embedded in the cyst, in the soft tissue of the eyelid. Despite it being there for almost three decades, she never experienced any redness, or anything else that might’ve suggested she had a contact lens lodged in her eye.
Modern contacts are soft lenses, as opposed to this one, which was an older, harder, and more uncomfortably rigid gas permeable lens. Because these lenses aren’t regularly used anymore, doctors realized this must be an old old. The patient told them she was 14-years-old the last time she wore a lens like that. She was playing badminton, and a birdie smacked her in the face.
She assumed the lens had fallen out, but doctors confirmed that wasn’t the case.
Dr. Sirjhun Patel of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Dundee said:
We can infer that the RGP lens migrated into the patient’s left upper eyelid at the time of trauma and had been in situ for the last 28 years.
This woman had a cyst in her eyelid because her contact lens was lodged there for 28 years when she was hit in the face during a game of badminton as a child.
This is why I don’t wear contact lenses!! https://t.co/4LtJZMTTTS
— Lin Taylor (@linnytayls) August 16, 2018
Ew. Twitter was grossed out by the whole ordeal:
Well that's the grossest thing I've heard in a while
— Cazanova (@based_caz) August 16, 2018
Well that’s unsettling. pic.twitter.com/bqhlb9So56
— Misty B (@Lfeizgud) August 16, 2018
For most contact wearers, this is an absolute nightmare:
@anna__phase this is my nightmare
— Aline White (@AlineWhite5) August 16, 2018
This is the kind of thing I have nightmares about
— notkevin (@thisisntkev) August 16, 2018
This was my worst nightmare when I first started using contacts!
— Lucia Carlson (@LuciiasLife) August 16, 2018
Some questioned how she didn’t feel it in her eye for nearly three decades:
What? How did she not feel it all those years?
— Joanie Aumann (@bobcatrules) August 16, 2018
how would you not feel that in your eye?
— wyatt (@wyattdobbss) August 16, 2018
For 28 YEARS
— Cassie (@ItsCassAttack) August 16, 2018
She might have gone her whole life without knowing the contact lens was stuck in her eye.
Because it became enveloped in a cyst, all she could feel was the pea-sized lump:
It got embedded in a Cyst that’s how
— Diego /// (@Kekis2014) August 16, 2018
Some shared their own stories of similar things happening to them:
I had a soft contact that had gotten lost in my eye for 2 weeks. Had no idea until I woke one morning with a pounding headache. Went to the ER and it was found.
— Pamela London (@Pyvette) August 16, 2018
— Blah Freakin’ Blah (@eric_talks) August 16, 2018
Contact wearers! Make an appointment with your optometrist this week! Just in case.