Man goes blind in right eye after contracting parasitic infection from showering in contacts
SHREWSBURY, U.K. - A U.K. man experienced "excruciating pain" and went blind in his right eye after showering in his contacts, which caused a parasite to burrow under the lens and into his eye, reports said.
Nick Humphreys, 29, of Shrewsbury, U.K., contracted a rare parasitic infection called Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) in his right cornea.
"If I'd have known how dangerous it was to wear contacts in the shower, I would never have got them in the first place," Humphreys said, according to PA Real Life.
"After getting the infection, I went from hitting the gym every other day and playing football three times a week, to being housebound for six months and losing the will to live. I got contacts as I didn't like how I looked in glasses and it nearly cost me my right eye."
Over an 18-month period, Humphreys had two operations on his eye and is now waiting for a corneal transplant, which has been booked for Aug. 15, the outlet reported. The procedure could restore his eyesight.
"I've lost 18 months of my life because of something as simple as showering with contacts in," Humphreys said. "If I get my sight back I'll never wear contacts again. Instead, like Edgar Davids - the former Dutch professional footballer - I'll wear some prescription goggles to do sport instead."
"I will owe a monumental debt of gratitude to my donor," he wrote, according to CTV News.
Humphreys said he was never warned about not showering in contact lenses, PA Real Life reported.
"On a standard morning I'd wake up, pop my lenses in and head to the gym before work, then I'd jump in the shower before heading to the office," he said. "I thought nothing of it at the time. I was never told not to wear contact lenses in the shower, there's no warning on the packaging and my opticians never mentioned a risk."
He said he experienced excruciating pain because of his AK infection, CTV reported.
"I couldn't read a page of a newspaper without being in excruciating pain, light sensitivity was so bad I had to keep the curtains drawn at all times," he wrote.
Dr. Shahzad Ihsan Mian from the Kellogg Eye Centre at the University of Michigan explained to CTV what AK is.
"Acanthamoeba is a parasite which is actually ubiquitous, it's present in water and soil," Mian said, adding that good contact lens hygiene is the best form of prevention against the bacteria.
"If you are careful in terms of how you clean your contact lenses, store them and wear them and avoid situations like taking a shower with contact lens in your eyes or going swimming in a lake with contact lens in then you can really avoid getting this type of infection," he said.
Humphreys, a newspaper journalist, is now working with the charity Fight for Sight to raise awareness about the danger of using contact lenses while showering or swimming, PA Real Life reported.
"It's crucial that people out there know this is a reality and it can happen because of something as simple as getting in the shower," he said.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.