Doctors intending to perform cataract surgery on a 67-year-old woman in Britain found something rather unexpected: 17 contact lenses mashed together in her right eye.
In a case report published Monday in the journal BMJ, the doctors said that the woman had worn monthly disposable contact lenses for 35 years; she had "deep set eyes" and poorer vision in that eye, which they said might have contributed to a failure to remove some of the lenses.
The doctors said the 17 lenses were bound together by mucus. A further 10 were found by the surgeon using a microscope, for a total of 27 contact lenses. Rupal Morjaria, a specialist trainee in ophthalmology, said the "large mass" would have caused quite a lot of irritation.
The patient had chalked it up to old age and dry eye, Morjaria said.
"None of us have ever seen this before," Morjaria told the publication Optometry Today. "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."
She said it's important for people who wear contacts to be conscientious about handling them safely and get regular check ups.
"Contact lenses are used all the time, but if they are not appropriately monitored we see people with serious eye infections that can cause them to lose their sight," Morjaria told Optometry Today.