An eye doctor shared very gross and graphic images of a patient’s heavily damaged eye to spread awareness about the dangers of sleeping in contact lenses, and let me tell you, they are not pretty! Dr. Patrick Vollmer, an optometrist for Vita Eye Clinic in Shelby, North Carolina, posted the shocking photos on Facebook showing the reason why the patient was sent to him for urgent care.
Turns out the woman had Pseudomonas bacteria, which is an important cause of ocular morbidity and its opportunistic characteristics can quickly lead to permanent blindness. The doctor said that this was his 4th case of cultured pseudomonas that he has treated at his clinic. Which is really scary and gross. I hope that gooey liquid isn’t’ contagious, cause if it is, poor doc.
The bacteria is known to eat away at a patient’s cornea within a matter of days and leave a soupy dead tissue in its wake. In this case, the eye in the pictures appears to be green because of fluorescein dye, which is used to strain the areas of the compromised tissue in order to better detect the damage. The dye usually pools in areas of corneal compromise, which in this case was the ulcer bed.
Vollmer gave out a warning to patients saying the woman’s issues didn’t take years to form, rather just 36 hours, as is characteristic of this strain of bacteria. The patients went to urgent care with a “small ulcer” on a Tuesday. By Wednesday, she had a massive ulcer and her vision was reduced to light perception. Although Vollmer did state that he usually hears patients say that they sleep in contacts “all the time” without any problems, the post was purely intended to be a “scare tactic” in hopes that people get spooked and correct their unhealthy behaviors.
Now, it’s no secret that sleeping with your contacts can be a bad habit that we all make once in a while. But wearing contact lenses overnight can really lead to dangerous situations, and can cause one to get microbial keratitis, which is an infection of the cornea that caused a clear foam that covers the colored part of the eye. This can cause loss of vision or blindness if left untreated and a potential lifetime of irreversible damage such as permanent scarring, ulcers on the cornea, or glaucoma.
So how is the patient after the gooey green liquid? Well, Vollmer said that he was able to start the patient on fortified antibiotic drops around the clock and gave her some steroids to reduce the permanent scarring. Luckily, the patient’s eyes are drastically improving but will likely experience some form of residual vision loss after the treatment.
This post was originally published on May 3, 2019.