Nick Humphreys used to wear his contact lenses while playing football but they ended up blinding him when he did not take them off before showering. His cornea at his right eye caught a rare parasitical infection called Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) after showering with his contact lenses.
Nick, 29 years old from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, has had two operations to save his right eye and is now on the list for a corneal transplant. According to Nick, if only he had known how dangerous it is to wear contacts in the shower, he would have never gotten them in the first place.
Risks of Infection from Contact Lenses
Nick initially wanted to give himself a break from the prescription glasses so he opted for contact lenses. However, he was never aware of the risks it poses. He would not remove his contacts for up to five days a week. He sleeps and showers on them and it was already late when he realized that his habits were risky.
“I was never told not to wear contact lenses in the shower, there’s no warning on the packaging and my opticians never mentioned a risk.”, Nick said. He only noticed the complications it caused him when he noticed a scratch on his right eye with a cloudy vision. As weeks passed by, the scratch on his eye only grew worse. He immediately went to his optician and found out that he had an ulcer on his eye.
Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) and Corneal Cross-Linking
Nick tested positive for Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) which is a parasite found in water. He was initially given disinfectant eye drops for three weeks to improve his eyesight but weeks after, he found himself completely blind in his right eye. He had unbearable pain in his right eye and the doctors decided to perform a corneal cross-linking.
With a combination of ultraviolet light and vitamin B2 drops to stiffen the cornea, the infection was cleared but Nick is already permanently blind in his right eye. And this is not the end of Nick’s operations. He still needed an amniotic membrane transplant to his right cornea to provide extra protection for his cornea. The operation has anti-inflammatory and anti-scarring effects to promote wound healing on the surface of the eye.
Nick was completely traumatized by what happened but is now eager to raise awareness about the risks of contact lenses. He believes that people must understand the reality and the right safety guidelines in wearing contact lenses. He wants people to be aware of how a simple like getting in the shower could cause you blindness.