Anyone who’s ever worn contacts has feared losing one of them in their eye, but we all generally laugh that possibility off because it seems too insane to imagine that we couldn’t feel an extra contact floating around. But now we know that our worst contact-related fear could potentially become reality, since doctors recently found 27 lost contact lenses in a woman’s eye.
As the Washington Post reports, a recent British Medical Journal write-up details the peculiar case of the lost contacts, which were discovered in a 67-year-old patient’s eye as she was being prepped for surgery in England. The lenses were found clumped together in a “blueish mass” that was “bound together by mucus,” according to the journal.
One of the patient’s doctors, trainee ophthalmologist Rupal Morjaria of Solihull Hospital, told Optometry Today that the patient was “quite shocked” by the discovery — as were the physicians working on her case. “None of us have seen this before,” Morjaria told Optometry Today, per the Post. She added that most doctors never even thought it was possible for so many contact lenses to be lost in a person’s eye without severe symptoms, which is why her team chose to publish the case study. The study also pointed out that perhaps the patient was unaware of the mass because she had “deep set eyes, which might have contributed to the unusually large number of retained foreign bodies.”
But don’t have a panic attack just yet. Thankfully, an officer of the Association of Optometrists, Henry Leonard, told Optometry Today that most of us would immediately notice and experience discomfort if contacts went missing in our own eyes.
“Patients do sometimes present with a contact lens stuck under their upper eyelid, particularly if they are new to contact-lens wear, or have problems with dexterity, but finding this many lenses stuck in someone’s eye is exceedingly rare,” he said. “Most patients would experience significant discomfort and redness, and be at risk of eye infections.”