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Mom Wakes Up Blind After A Parasitic Worm Got Stuck Behind Her Contact Lens

Kateryna Kon/Shutterstock, Suzanne Dunne

Anyone with poor vision knows regularly putting on their eyeglasses can be quite the hassle.

Although it's more than important to see, they're a pain in the keister when doing physical activity, require constant cleaning, and unless they're exceptionally tight, slide right down your nose.

According to the Vision Council of America, approximately 75% of adults use some sort of vision correction, and while 64% of those individuals wear eyeglasses, 11% choose to go with contact lenses.  

So while sticking on contact lenses may seem to be a more functional choice, one woman from Donabate, Ireland is warning others about the life-changing repercussions she's had from wearing them.

"My sight was gone, completely gone."

Suzanne Dunne nearly lost her eyesight after a parasitic worm gained entrance to her eye after slipping behind her contact lenses.

It then began eating its way through her cornea.

"At 7:30pm I said I was going to bed and then at 1am I woke up and I was blind. I didn’t know what was happening because everything was black," Dunne explained.

"There’s so many power cuts in Donabate as it is so I thought it was that, but deep down I knew there was something wrong."

Dunne crawled out of her bedroom, where her husband "started screaming" before calling for an ambulance that carted her away to Mater Hospital.

"My sight was gone, completely gone. The whole place was black. My eye was being pushed out by the parasite. And I was so upset because the kids Mia [5] and Max [8] had woke up and seen me go off in the ambulance," she said.

"They were going to take the eye out."

Dunne, who works as a nurse, was in the hospital for 16 days where doctors poured bleach into her eye to kill the infection - on a daily basis.

"The staff were very good. They had to put a bleach in my eye and they told me to count to 10 the pain was so severe," she said.

They said, 'Okay we’ve managed to deaden the nerves and clean them so we’ll be able to save the eye, but we’ll just have to keep you here.' So I was on morphine, the lot. The pain was like a searing hot knife through my eye."

"They were going to take the eye out. They were saying this is the Acanthamoeba virus and it has to go."

According to Dunne's physician, she "basically had a shower and there’s parasites in the water because the weather has been so warm. And this parasite went in behind your contact lenses."

"It can only happen to a contact lense wearer because the contact lense creates a vacuum [sic] in the eye. So if anything goes in behind it it makes it cling onto it," Dunne said.

"It acts up after four hours so it happened to me in the shower. I’d heard it was active in Asia. I didn’t realize but if temperatures get anyway warm or heated it’s active in everyday water in Ireland. It can happen so easily."

While it was a harrowing experience, Dunne is now sharing her experience to educate others about the potential horrors of wearing contact lenses.

"This has made me see things in a different perspective."

According to Dunne, while people are safe from the parasite in the winter, when in warm conditions, the organism "multiplies and it's rampant," and added that "Even though the parasite is dead the damage is done."

Acanthamoeba virus
The Acanthamoeba virusAll About Vision

"It’s just there’s no warnings out there and I’ve met two people who have got contact lenses and haven’t been told about it," she said.

"I wanted to highlight it because I don’t want people to go through the same thing I went through."

Dunne explained she now has to pour drops into her eye "every half hour during the night and day."  

"It’s not irreversible. It will do some form of damage as in scaring of the cornea and it will never come back to the way it was in one eye. They saved the right quick enough."

Although Dunne went through a terrifying ordeal, she still hopes to compete in the Dublin Marathon on October 28.

"This has made me see things in a different perspective," she said. "I work for St. Michael’s House and I work with blind kids [with an intellectual disability] day-in, day-out. And I’ve often gone in and said nothing."

"When you go into a room to a blind person you should say something, say who you are. It has made me look at things differently."

Share Suzanne Dunne's story to alert your family and friends of the dangers of wearing contact lenses in hot climates!

[H/T: Irish Mirror]

Maya has been working at Shared for a year. She just begrudgingly spent $200 on a gym membership. Contact her at maya@shared.com