A student who reportedly kept a pair of contact lenses in her eyes for six months straight is now blind after amoebas devoured her eyeballs.
The tiny single-cell organisms slowly ate away at Taiwanese undergraduate Lian Kao's sight because she didn't take out and clean the contacts.
Not even once during that time.
According to a warning issued by doctors, this is a particularly severe example, but illustrates the importance of proper hygiene use with contact lenses.
The director of ophthalmology at Taipei's Wan Fang Hospital, Wu Jian-liang, said contacts users are a "high risk group that can easily be exposed to eye diseases."
How so, you ask?
Short answer: Amoebas.
Longer answer: "A shortage of oxygen can destroy the surface of the epithelial tissue, creating tiny wounds into which the bacteria can easily infect," he explains.
Once that process starts, he says, it continues rapidly and disastrously, "spreading to the rest of the eye and providing a perfect breeding ground."
"The girl should have thrown the contact lenses away after a month but instead she overused them and has now permanently damaged her corneas."
Jian-liang said that she had been diagnosed with acanthamoeba keratitis, which is more common in the summer than other seasons, yet typically rare.
The condition, experts say, can build up over several years, but by the time it has caused permanently red, irritated eyes, it may be too late to reverse.
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