When an elderly woman walked into a clinic complaining of pain and blurry vision, ophthalmologist Dr Katerina Kurteeva immediately started running through a mental checklist of possible reasons.
“My mind jumped to the possibilities of what it could be,” says the doctor from Newport Beach, California. “A piece of broken contact lens, a scratch on the cornea, an infection, an eyelash or debris from makeup.”
Initially, she couldn’t see the cause of the pain, but then she noticed something that left her totally stunned.
“When I asked her to look down, I could see the edges of a couple of contacts stuck to each other,” Dr Kurteeva says. “Pulling them out, I felt like I could still see more and asked my assistant to get my phone to record the removal.”
It took a while but eventually she'd removed a grand total of 23 lenses.
Apparently the unidentified woman forgot to remove her contacts when she went to sleep.
“A rare occasion when someone 'forgot' to remove contact lenses at night and kept on putting a new one in every morning. 23 days in a row! I got to deliver the contact lens bunch yesterday in my clinic," an astonished Dr Kurteeva shared in a video post on Instagram.
Her followers couldn't believe what they were seeing.
“I freak with an eyelash in my eye!” one person wrote.
While another questioned the patient, “Well, lady, where the hell did you think they were going?”
Many users were concerned about the woman’s health. One wrote, "This would be where, if I was a practitioner, I would not be writing her any scripts for contacts."
Another wrote, "Still blown away from this! I bet she loves blinking now."
Dr Kurteeva says that she posted the video to warn others about what can happen if your lenses and eyes are not properly cared for.
Maintain good hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water before handling your lenses, then rinse and dry your hands with a lint-free towel.
Reduce your exposure to water and saliva. Before swimming or using a hot tub, remove your contact lenses. Do not put your lenses in your mouth to moisten them.
Use contact-lens solution with caution. Only use commercially prepared, sterile products designed specifically for the type of contact lenses you wear. When disinfecting and storing your contact lenses, discard the solution in the contact-lens case. Rub and rinse your lenses gently as directed by your optometrist. Do not use contact-lens solution that has passed its expiration date.
Contact lenses and cases should be replaced as directed. Replace your contact lenses according to the manufacturer's instructions. Each time you finish using your case, clean and rinse it with sterile contact-lens solution. Never use tap water. While the case is air-drying, consider flipping it over to drain any solution. Every three months, replace your case.
Over-the-counter contact lenses should be avoided. These lenses have the potential to cause eye injuries and infections. Consult your optometrist if you're interested in decorative contact lenses.
The video is also being used by some optometrists to educate people about the dangers of not removing their daily contact lenses before bed.
The good doctor is still shocked, though.
“In nearly 20 years of practice, I had never seen anything like it," Dr Kurteeva says.