Anyone that uses contact lenses would tell you how much of a chore it is to constantly take them out and insert them in. After that, there is also the phantom fear of one simply lodging one such lens in their eye. This is the story of one such patient from California- who forgot that they had 23 contact lenses in their eye- and yes, you read it right! The ophthalmologist in question, Dr. Katerina Kurteeva uploaded a video on social media platforms where she kept pulling out one contact lens after the other- with the video has gone viral already.
The doctor’s Instagram post states that the patient had been putting in a new lens every day- without taking the others out. Posting on the page for the California Eye Associates, the doctor stated, “A rare occasion when someone ‘forgot’ to remove contact lenses at night and kept putting in a new one every morning. I got to deliver the contact lens bunch.”
Even The Doctor Was Confused
The Doctor further stated that she had no idea that this was even possible- for when the patient came to her chamber complaining of pain, she had other ideas in her head. Speaking to Insider, she mentioned,
“My mind jumped to the possibilities of what it could be: a piece of broken contact lens, a scratch on the cornea, an infection, an eyelash, or debris from makeup. I’d only know for sure once I did the examination. When I asked her to look down, I could see the edges of a couple of contacts stuck to each other. Pulling them out, I felt like I could still see more and asked my assistant to get my phone to record the removal.
Asking the patient to look down again, I could see a huge, dark-purple blob of contact lenses stuck to her eye. It almost looked like a second pupil. I gently started using a Q-tip to peel the lenses apart one by one, like you would deal with a deck of cards. They were coming out in a chain, drooping down her lid. There were a lot of contact lenses- I thought this could be my Guinness Book of World Record moment.” 
Ophthalmologist Peels Out 23 Contact Lenses From A Patient’s Eyes
After peeling off the contact lenses, Dr. Kurteeva did warn her viewers of the dangers of such lenses. She stated, “Don’t sleep in your contact lenses! They were essentially glued together after sitting under the eyelid for a month.” Fortunately, the patient only needed eye drops after that- and was already feeling quite better. But this doesn’t mean that the danger of it isn’t there! The doctor said, “In nearly 20 years of practice, I had never seen anything like it. The patient couldn’t believe it either and asked if I was sure about the number I was counting.”
While contact lenses are generally helpful for those who don’t want to wear bulky spectacles, they do come with their problems. Increased usage of the lens leads to a risk of infections such as microbial keratitis. In severe cases, such an infection could lead to blindness. Speaking to the TV station in Los Angeles, Kurteeva went on to state that the cornea did become quite desensitized after several years of wearing lenses. “This is essentially a protective feature because otherwise you’d be really bothered by everyday contact lens wear. After all, it’s a foreign body in your eye. So when the cornea loses sensitivity, it’s sort of an adjustment, but at the same time, you don’t feel when something is really wrong as acutely.”
The patient, Dr. Kurteeva admitted, was also undergoing a lot of facial changes. This included a loss of ocular fat cushion. She stated, “The pocket of the upper lip becomes really deep. So in that case, all those contact lenses were able to hide like a stack of pancakes really far deep inside in the least sensitive part of the eye.”
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- “‘Like a stack of pancakes’: Doctor removes 23 contact lenses from patient’s eye.” ABC7 Chicago. October 19, 2022.
- “Doctor shares video removing 23 contact lenses from a forgetful patient’s eye.” Independent. Graeme Massie. October 20, 2022.
- “Doctor Removes 23 Contact Lenses From Woman’s Eye.” WebMD. Lisa O’Mary. October 19, 2022.