A 67-year-old patient who went for routine cataract surgery at a hospital in the West Midlands discovered she had 27 contact lenses lodged in her right eye.
A report in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) said experts at Solihull Hospital found “a bluish foreign body” during the procedure – which turned out to be “a hard mass of 17 contact lenses bound together by mucus”.
A further 10 were then found in the same eye under closer investigation.
The BMJ report said the patient had worn disposable lenses for 35 years. It also stated that poor vision in her right eye and having “deep set” eyes may have contributed to the “unusually large number of retained foreign bodies”.
“None of us have ever seen this before,” Rupal Morjaria, a specialist trainee in ophthalmology, told Optometry Today. “It was such a large mass. All the 17 contact lenses were stuck together.
“We were really surprised that the patient didn’t notice it because it would cause quite a lot of irritation while it was sitting there.
“She was quite shocked. She thought her previous discomfort was just part of old age and dry eye.”
“This is a highly unusual case,” said Daniel Hardiman-McCartney, from the College of Optometrists. “I sometimes see a patient who has lost a contact lens and occasionally have found two.
“This really does highlight how important it is to have good contact lens hygiene and regular check-ups.
“If in doubt, or if you are experiencing dry eye or discomfort, always return to your optometrist for advice.”
Tips from the college include always replacing lenses as advised by a professional and seeking advice as soon as there are any problems.