SHREWSBURY, U.K. (KRON) – A man went blind in his right eye after showering in his contact lenses, which caused a parasite to burrow under the lens and in his eye.
29-year-old Nick Humphreys contracted the rare parasitic infection called Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) in his right cornea, according to CTV News.
Humphreys shared his story with the local publication Shropshire Star, where he is a senior reporter.
According to Humphreys, he noticed his right eye had been noticeably dry for a week and had become sensitive to light.
He tried over-the-counter eye drops for relief but when that didn’t work, he visited an eye doctor who discovered an ulcer in his eye.
Once at the hospital, a doctor diagnosed him with AK – an infection caused by a parasitic bug called Acanthamoeba.
He was prescribed disinfectant eye drops for treatment soon afterward but eventually lost all vision in his right eye as the infection returned.
Humphreys said he received an experimental surgery called “cross-linking” that involves peeling away layers of the eye so the eye can be exposed to heavy doses of vitamins and UV radiation and that has helped in treating the infection.
Humphreys said he is scheduled for a full corneal transplant at the end of this summer, along with cataract surgery, so he can hopefully regain some vision in his right eye.
Officials said AK is rare but seems to be more common in some areas of the world including the UK.
Someone wearing contact lenses can contract the infection because the lenses can transfer the parasite from contaminated water or soil straight to one’s eyes, and potentially trap them there.
According to the CDC, the majority of victims of AK are contact lens wearers.
Major risks to contracting the infection for contact lens wearers include:
- Showering with contacts
- Swimming with contacts
- Washing contacts with tap water
- Mishandling contacts while putting them in eyes or storing them
- Leaving lenses in for too long