By: Kimberly Rodrigues
Laura Hawkins, 24, a personal trainer who was travelling in Australia, woke one morning in “excruciating pain” and partially blinded after she got a bacterial eye infection from her dirty makeup bag.
She is now warning others of the risks involved in wearing contaminated contact lenses.
Her contact lenses had picked up bacteria which was then transferred to her eye.
The woman who is from Bristol has now been left with extreme scarring on her cornea and is partially blind in her right eye.
The germs from the contact lenses reportedly caused a huge ulcer on her cornea that required immediate medical attention.
According to Laura, if left untreated it could have blinded her.
Speaking about her ordeal the young woman is reported to have said, “I’d been wearing contact lenses for a good few years before this and never had any problem but I also didn’t know the risk of wearing them.”
“I always cleaned my hands before and after putting the contact lenses in, I used the saline solution as you’re supposed to and put the pot into my make up bag sealed shut.”
However, despite Laura taking extreme precautions, she was still infected.
“I just woke up one morning and I couldn’t physically open my eye,” she revealed. “Even just a tiny bit of light getting in my eye would feel like a burning or stabbing pain.”
She adds, “Throughout the day before, my eye had gotten more swollen and shut over and gunky which I knew wasn’t good, and then the morning after, I just couldn’t open my eye at all so I couldn’t tell if I could see or not.”
An ophthalmologist discovered that Laura had a corneal ulcer.
After a course of painkillers and eye drops, bacterial cells were scraped from Laura’s eye for testing by the doctors.
The doctors reportedly believe the bacterial infection was picked up from her makeup bag, where the contact lens case was stored every night.
It’s been over a year since the harrowing experience, but Laura now reportedly has permanent scarring on her right eye and has just been referred for a corneal transplant on the NHS.
Laura is quoted as saying, “My peripheral vision and central to the right vision in my right eye, it’s now like there’s a white sheet over it.
“I can’t really see that well out of that eye, and especially when it’s nighttime and there are bright lights, I just can’t see. I tried driving at night and I just can’t do that now.
“What the doctors think happened is that either I scratched my eye taking the lenses out or the contact lens itself was contaminated.”
Laura now thinks that people should be pre-warned about the dangers of wearing contact lenses before they are acquired.
“Nobody warned me what could happen – they told me the importance of cleaning my hands and using the saline solution, which I always did, but they never said that this could happen,” Laura states.
Commenting on the unfortunate incident, Specsavers clinical services director, Giles Edmonds, is reported to have said, “Clean, dry hands should always be used when putting in and taking out lenses and always rub, rinse and store your lenses in the recommended solution.
“You need to be mindful of where you store your lens case too as it can easily pick up bacteria in its surroundings which can result in red eyes, irritation, or even infection.