A young woman from Scotland has been left blind in one eye after briefly touching her contact lenses with her wet hand.
24-year-old Charlotte Clarkson, who works as a nanny, was on a camping trip to Canada when she unknowingly contracted a dangerous parasite.
As Clarkson explained, she one night put in her corrective lenses with slightly damp hands before going to sleep.
In the following days, the nanny had a feeling that there was something stuck in her eye whereas a doctor diagnosed her condition as an infected lump that should clear up on its own.
Weeks later, Clarkson’s situation further worsened and she was prescribed antibiotic drops by an optician whom she visited for a second opinion.
Despite taking the drops as prescribed, the 24-year-old’s condition continued to deteriorate and she eventually paid a visit to an eye specialist who diagnosed her with HSV keratitis.
After being told to take steroid drops, Clarkson’s eye further deteriorated and eventually became so inflamed and sensitive she was left unable to go outside her darkened room.
Some two months after the infection, another eye specialist at a Canadian hospital tested Charlotte for the acanthamoeba parasite due to her symptoms matching those that come along with acanthamoeba keratitis.
Acanthamoeba keratitis is a rare condition caused by Acanthamoeba, a microscopic single-celled organism that can be found in water, air, and soil, which can result in visual impairment or total blindness.
In Charlotte’s case, it is believed that the amoeba entered her eye after she had touched her contact lenses with wet hands.
“I remembered that in order to avoid using a shared towel at the camp I would often shake my hands dry before getting ready for bed and putting my lenses in. I just had no idea that handling lenses with even slightly damp hands could cause such a problem,” Charlotte recalled.
While the first two scrape tests the 24-year-old had undergone came back as negative, Charlotte was finally diagnosed with acanthamoeba keratitis after her return to Scotland where the test came back as positive.
“Even if acanthamoeba keratitis is suspected, the corneal scrape has a low sensitivity, which means we can identify only 50 percent of true positives,” consultant ophthalmologist Professor John Dart explained.
After months of treatment with an antiseptic agent, Charlotte was finally able to leave her home and resume her life. While her left eye remained unaffected, she has been left blind in her right eye.
“I knew it was dangerous to shower or swim with any kind of contact lenses in, but I had no idea that even the most minimal contact with water could have such devastating effects,” she said.
The 24-year-old also expressed her hopes that people reading her story will learn from her mistakes and “take extra care when it comes to contact lens hygiene.”
Recommended Video For You!
Extraordinary road rage incident in Paris involving BLIND man