Teenage girl nearly loses her sight after parasite grows on her contact lens and begins eating through her eye
18:02 GMT, 27 March 2013
07:54 GMT, 28 March 2013
A teenager has told how she almost lost her eyesight after a parasite grew on her contact lens and began eating through her cornea.
Ashley Hyde had to endure a procedure where an optician had to drill into her eye.
Scrapings from her eyeball were also taken as medical staff tried to find out why her left eye was left inflamed.
Infection: Ashley Hyde, 18, suffered an eye infection that almost left her blind due to her contact lenses
Doctors discovered Hyde, 18, had an acanthamoeba infection, Local10.com reported.
Acanthamoeba is a microscopic parasite found in water and soil that can spread through contact lens use, cuts, or skin wounds or by being inhaled into the lungs.
The parasite left the teen from Pembroke Pines, Florida, with blurred vision and repeated visits to the optician.
'They did multiple cultures where they scrape your eye,' she said. 'One time, they had to drill into my eye. It was really nasty.'
Painful: Ashley had to endure a procedure where doctors drilled into her eye to stop the bacteria
Attack: The bacteria was eating through her cornea, leaving her eye red and inflammed
Hydes has been told she must undergo months of treatment.
Dr. Adam Clarin, an optometric physician, said contact users should try to change their lenses daily.
'There is nothing safer or healthier than throwing out the lens every day and starting with a new one the next day,' said Clarin.
'Every day, we see people come in with contact lens related to infections, complications, ulcers,' he said.
Hidden danger: The bacteria is found in soil and water and is transferred by contact lenses
Recovery: Ashley will need to undergo months more treatment until her eye is back to its original health
'These are all things that are potentially blinding.'
Hyde said she wished she had changed her lenses regularly. 'It hurts,' she said. 'I wouldn't risk it.'
UNSEEN DANGER: BACTERIA THAT TRANSFERS FROM CONTACT LENSES
Culprit: The Acanthamoeba parasite that lives in tap water and dust and eats through the cornea
Ashley was suffering from an acanthamoeba infection, which could have left her blind.
Acanthamoeba, a tiny single-celled parasite, is found in tap water, in dust, in the sea and in showers and swimming pools. It feeds on bacteria found on dirty contact lenses and cases.
When the lens is put in the eye, the bacteria starts to eat its way through the cornea – the outer layer of the eyeball – and breeds as it goes.
Symptoms of the infection include itchy and watery eyes, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, swelling of the upper eyelid and extreme pain.
Treatment includes eye drops, with patients initially being treated every 20 minutes, day and night and spending up to three weeks in hospital. The most severe cases are given cornea transplants.
Advice for avoiding the bug includes keeping lenses and cases clean and replacing them regularly.
parasite also found in dust, in the sea and in showers and swimming pools,