A North Carolina woman slept in her contact lenses wound up nearly losing her sight in one eye, WebMD reports.
“People don’t realize that contacts are medical devices,” says Patrick Vollmer, OD, the optometrist who treated her. “They don’t realize the risks associated with misuse.”
Dr. Vollmer posted a series of gruesome photos of the infected eye with a lengthy caption on Facebook on April 28. The post, which you can see here, has been shared more than 300,000 times.
The woman slept in her lenses and woke up with eye irritation. She went to urgent care for treatment, where she was diagnosed with a small pseudomonas ulcer — a sore on her cornea caused by bacteria — and gave her antibiotics.
The next day she was blind in that eye, with a much larger ulcer. She then went to Dr. Vollmer, who says it might take 5 to 6 months for her to regain her eyesight, and some loss may be permanent.
Sleeping in contacts raises the risk of infection 6 to 8 times, but nearly one-third of wearers admit to doing it sometimes. Last year the CDC released a report highlighting six recent cases. In one, a man slept in his contacts for 2 nights on a camping trip and wound up needing a corneal transplant.