An ophthalmologist in Newport Beach, California, has gone viral after removing 23 contact lenses from a patient’s eye.
Dr. Katerina Kurteeva discussed the incident in an Insider story in which she recounted how her patient, a woman in her mid-70s, had come in complaining that she “had something in her eye that she couldn’t get out.”
The woman, Kurteeva said, hadn’t had a checkup in two years — despite seniors being encouraged to check in annually.
When Kurteeva began inspecting the woman’s eye, she didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. However, “When I asked her to look down, I could see the edges of a couple of contacts stuck to each other. Pulling them out, I felt like I could still see more and asked my assistant to get my phone to record the removal.”
The doctor noticed “a huge, dark-purple blob of contact lenses stuck to her eye.” There were so many of them that she said it “almost looked like a second pupil.”
She then lifted the patient’s eyelids as she used a Q-tip to carefully “peel the lenses apart one by one.”
“They were coming out in a chain, drooping down her lid. There were a lot of contact lenses — I thought this could be my Guinness Book of World Record moment,” Kurteeva said.
She then laid them out and found that 23 contact lenses had been removed.
“In nearly 20 years of practice, I had never seen anything like it,” Kurteeva said in the Insider.
The woman apparently had forgotten to take the contact lenses out at night while continuing to put new ones in each morning.
When Kurteeva told her patient how many lenses were removed, she said the woman “couldn’t believe it” and “asked if I was sure about the number I was counting.”
Despite urging the woman to stay away from contact lenses, the doctor said the woman has gone back to wearing them.
The woman was extremely fortunate. As Kurteeva noted, “She could have lost her vision, scratched her cornea, or gotten an infection.”
Kurteeva said this type of incident can happen, particularly for seniors, when they have been wearing contact lenses for such a long time.
“When a person wears contact lenses over a long period of time, it can cause desensitization of the corneal nerve endings,” Kurteeva said. “Older people’s eyelid fornix, the least sensitive space, is much deeper, and the contact lenses just sat there for a while not bothering her.”
Kurteeva posted the video of herself removing the lenses on the California Eye Associates’ Instagram account, where it quickly went viral.
“Optometrists from South America, Mexico and Europe were using the video to educate people about making sure they take their daily contact lenses out of their eyes every single night,” Kurteeva told the Insider, warning those who use contacts:
“These are light, flimsy lenses and should not be used for more than 24 hours.”
She added, “I feel really lucky to have captured this on video to remind people to remove their contact lenses every single night. This was a happy ending, but it could have gone sour really quickly.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.