Who would have known that it was a possibility? Well, this is a reality and this is something that can happen because of something as simple as getting in the shower!
Contact lenses are a life savior, and all of us who use them are guilty of having left them on too long. We've gone to bed with our contact lenses on, and we've even showered with them on, but it has turned fatal for an amateur footballer. Nick Humphreys has been left partially blind because a parasite burrowed into his right eye after he showered with contact lenses on, reports Daily Mail.
29-year-old Humphreys of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, obviously did not know it would be this dangerous to shower with his contact lenses on. Apparently, this was something he would regularly do.
Humphreys noticed a painful scratch on his eye in January 2018, which he managed with eye drops while opticians tested for an infection. The results came back positive for Acanthamoeba keratitis, an infection from a small organism found in water that is able to get into the eye through a small cut - often caused by contact lenses.
Two months later, in March, Humphreys, a journalist and a sports player, lost vision in one eye while driving, and hasn't recovered since.
Today Fight for Sight published the results of its YouGov poll, highlighting the risky habits of British contact lens wearers amid a threefold increase in cases of Acanthamoeba keratitis, a sight threatening eye infection affecting contact lens wearers: https://t.co/x1J1jafTIa pic.twitter.com/Rn5gU6dNVa— Fight for Sight (@fightforsightUK) July 9, 2019
Suddenly going blind in one eye has had a huge impact on Nick's mental health. He has since struggled to come to terms with the limitations of his damaged eye as it came close to needing complete removal.
Since then, he's had two surgeries on his eye, one of which was to clear the infection. Now, he is waiting for a corneal transplant. "I got contacts as I didn't like how I looked in glasses and it nearly cost me my right eye," Nick said.
Amateur footballer left blind from a parasite after he showered with contact lenses in : Nick Humphreys, of Shropshire, noticed a scratch on his right eye in January 2018. By March, he had gone blind caused by Acanthamoeba keratitis, a parasitical… https://t.co/DlOmbwmwxX pic.twitter.com/ylEqK4Bgqu— RushReads (@RushReads) July 9, 2019
"If I'd have known how dangerous it was to wear contacts in the shower, I would never have got them in the first place. After getting the infection, I went from hitting the gym every other day and playing football three times a week, to being housebound for six months and losing the will to live," he added.
Charities say that sight-threatening AK cases are on the rise and it is most common in people who wear contact lenses.
Our fantastic Fight for Sight supporter, Nick Humphreys, is raising awareness of the need for correct contact lens care and clearer information on contact lens packaging, after losing his sight in one eye to Acanthamoeba keratitis: https://t.co/ooUYXWlyYF #ContactLenses #AK— Fight for Sight (@fightforsightUK) July 9, 2019
Some of the reasons for contracting AK are: Poor contact lens hygiene, using tap water to clean or store contact lenses, or contaminating lenses with tap, pool or hot tub water increases the risk of infection.
Nick is short-sighted and has been using glasses to correct his vision ever since he was four. It was in 2013 that he switched to lenses because he wanted to look better and perform better at his sport.
Contact lens wearers are particularly vulnerable to the parasitic infection - Acanthamoeba keratitis, which can have sight-threatening consequences. See Dr Nicole Carnt's top tips to prevent infection. https://t.co/937ls6ZMva pic.twitter.com/hjFoYYznkU— Altacor Eye Products (@AltacorEye) July 6, 2019
"In my mid-twenties I really started to throw myself into exercise and at the time I thought my glasses were a massive hindrance. When I finally got over my fear of putting contacts in, I thought they were the best thing ever," he said.
Nick also mentioned that he would use contacts five days a week, and his specs on the other two days. "On a standard morning I'd wake up, pop my lenses in and head to the gym before work, then I'd jump in the shower before heading to the office," he said.
Acanthamoeba Keratitis is a rare but devastating eye condition caused by an amoeba. It can affect eyesight and even lead to blindness. Contact lens wearers are particularly at risk. Here's what you need to know about avoiding it: https://t.co/evCIhP6CcN pic.twitter.com/9c4FkT5EJB— BBC World Service (@bbcworldservice) October 15, 2018
"I thought nothing of it at the time. 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," added Nick.
One fine morning in January, he felt a slight discomfort in his right eye, which he assumed he had scratched while putting his lens in, but as days passed, it became clear that the issue was much more grave than just a small scratch.
Acanthamoeba Keratitis (Electron microscopy). Corneal trauma and exposure to the parasite (water supply or contact lens solution) leads to infection. Acanthamoeba exist in two forms: trophozoites (mobile) and cysts (very resistant). pic.twitter.com/ZyimzzKr0E— Carles Saus (@carles_saus) March 6, 2018
"For a few days I used over the counter eye drops and turned all my phone and computer display settings down to the lowest brightness, which seemed to do the trick," said Nick.
But he decided to get it checked out, and he was told he had an ulcer on his eye and w advised to go to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital immediately. He was then tested by a few eye specialists and samples from his eyes were sent away to be tested.
"The doctors said they couldn't be sure what was happening until they had the test results back, but that they thought it might be Acanthamoeba keratitis," Humphreys said.
"'I'd never heard of the infection before, but as soon as I got home I turned to Dr. Google and was suddenly left thinking I was going to have my right eyeball removed." A week later he heard the devastating news. Contact lenses can create small abrasions in the eye, which make it easier for the organism to attach when the eye comes into contact with water.
Corneal ulceration caused by Acanthamoeba is on the rise, and recent publications indicate an outbreak in the UK over the last few years. Since Acanthamoeba keratitis often presents with atypical features, diagnosis from slit-lamp examination alone can often be inconclusive— Eye News (@EyeNewsMag) July 3, 2019
Soon, he was unable to work, and that left him sleepless and depressed. He's been referred to a counselor and Nick is slowly coming to terms with his condition. He is working with the charity Fight for Sight to raise awareness about the danger of using contact lenses while showering or swimming.
"I can honestly say if I'd had the slightest idea that this was even a remote possibility I would never have worn contacts in the first place," he said. "It's crucial that people out there know this is a reality and it can happen because of something as simple as getting in the shower."
A rare eye but severe eye infection in contact lens wearers is increasing. Do you know someone suffering from Acanthamoeba keratitis? I’m asking for patients, clinicians and researchers to get involved, prevent and support. Join me online on June 7th https://t.co/3t9USpNH50 pic.twitter.com/Rvo6ux6Q4e— Nicole Carnt (@nicole_carnt) May 27, 2019
Nick is six weeks away from a corneal transplant. The surgery replaces a damaged cornea with healthy donor tissue from someone who has died. "I've lost 18 months of my life because of something as simple as showering with contacts in. If I get my sight back I'll never wear contacts again. Instead, like Edgar Davids - the former Dutch professional footballer - I'll wear some prescription goggles to do sport instead," he adds.