British surgeons were prepping a 67-year-old woman for cataract surgery when a trainee ophthalmologist found a “blueish mass” in one eye. The mass was causing the patient discomfort, which she had attributed to dry eye and old age.
During peribulbar anaesthesia, the bluish foreign body emerged from the superior fornix as a hard mass of 17 contact lenses bound together by mucus. Further examination by microscope revealed that another 10 lenses were stuck in her eye.
The case was published in the British Medical Journal.
“It was such a large mass. All the 17 contact lenses were stuck together. We were really surprised that the patient didn’t notice it because it would cause quite a lot of irritation while it was sitting there,” Rupal Morjaria, a specialist trainee ophthalmologist, said in the BMJ article.
The patient, who had no previous ocular complaints, had worn monthly disposable lenses for 35 years but did not regularly see an optometrist and had no idea that many contacts were in her eye.
“She had poorer vision in the right eye and deep set eyes, which might have contributed to the unusually large number of retained foreign bodies,” the article stated.
The researchers said this case highlights the importance of appropriate candidate selection and monitoring of contact lens wearers. Double lid eversion and fluorescein staining of the ocular surface can reveal dislocated contact lenses in the upper fornix.