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    Contacts lost in eye not such a rare thing—but 27?


    Every year, Dr. Hinshaw said a few of his patients will present with a full or a fragment lens lost in the eye. The difficult ones to find are single lenses that roll up like a cigar, which is quite painful, he said.

    However, one of Dr. Hinshaw’s patients had five lenses lost in the eye. In cases like these, “(the patients) don’t realize they’ve become blinded in one eye.”

    In the case of the patient with 27 lenses, Dr. Hinshaw said part of the reason she could have not been in severe discomfort is because contact lenses today are advanced. “We’re in the era of 100% oxygen permeable lenses,” he added. “These lenses are transparent to oxygen…and don’t impede the oxygen getting the cornea.”

    While contact lens wearers do not need to be fearful of this sort of occurrence, Dr. Hinshaw said it raises awareness of it happening. When in doubt of whether a lens should be removed, patients are reminded to see their eye care provider.

    In terms of why this patient was not discovered until preop, Dr. Hinshaw said a standard ophthalmic exam would have revealed the lenses or at least raised the question.

    Surgeons also should not accept mucus in the eye, or dried mucus in the corner of the eye, as a normal occurrence, he advised.  “It’s a defense mechanism to coat the lens—mucus doesn’t just show up for no reason,” Dr. Hinshaw added.

    In cases where Dr. Hinshaw suspected a lost contact lens in the eye and could not find it, he will use a Desmarres lid retractor, put fluorescein in the eye, and have the patient look down.

    If a patient comes in with discomfort, saying the lens fell out, there is still reason to suspect a lost lens or lens fragment in the eye, then conduct a thorough examination.

    “Don’t take their word for it,” he said.

    Loss of sensitivity

    Jolie Higazi
    Jolie is the Content Specialist for Ophthalmology Times. She can be reached at [email protected]

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