Woman has 23 contact lenses removed from eye by ophthalmologist

Dr Katerina Kurteeva said she had never seen anything like it before.

Kurteeva, an ophthalmologist with California Eye Associates in Newport Beach, said a patient came into her office complaining of eye pain and blurred vision. She went through the typical list of diagnoses: a scratched cornea, some type of infection, or even lodged debris.

What she found were 23 contact lenses lodged in the woman’s right eye.

“In nearly 20 years of practice, I had never seen anything like it,” Kurteeva said in an essay for Insider.

Kurteeva used a cotton swab to gently peel off the lenses, “like dealing out a stack of cards,” she said in the story. One by one, a string of contact lenses began to slip out of the patient’s eye. There were so many lenses removed that at one point the patient asked Kurteeva if she was still counting them, she said.

A photo and video of the takedown, recorded by Kurteeva’s assistant, was posted on the California Eye Associates Instagram page and has since gone viral, garnering more than 3 million views.

“It almost felt like a second student. I gently started using a cotton swab to peel off the lenses one by one, like you were dealing a deck of cards,” Kurteeva said in the story. “They were coming out in a chain, falling on his lid. There were a lot of contact lenses – I thought this might be my Guinness Book of World Record moment.

While she isn’t sure exactly how her patient forgot to remove nearly a month’s worth of contact lenses from her eye, one possible culprit is that the patient may have become desensitized to the sensation of the contacts. This is due to wearing them for so many years — and is typical of frequent contact lens wearers, Kurteeva said.

Kurteeva said the woman was “very lucky” not to have caused serious damage to her eye, or worse, to have permanent vision loss.

“I feel really lucky to have captured this on video to remind people to remove their contact lenses every night,” Kurteeva said in the story. “It was a happy ending, but it could have turned sour very quickly.”

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