I was blinded by my contact lens – BBC News
When Irenie Ekkeshis’s eye started to itch she usurped it would soon settle down. It didn’t. Before long, she found herself in excruciating aching and lost her spate in that look. And the justification may have been good-for-nothing more than handling her contact lenses with soggy fingers.
One Saturday morning in January 2011, Irenie Ekkeshis woke up to find her right look was streaming with ruptures. So she went to the chemist’s and picked up some look puts.
“I pictured I had a little infection that would clear up by Monday. But by that evening I couldn’t bear to go in my kitchen because I observed the fluorescent beacons too bright. It was painful.”
Ekkeshis croaked straight to Moorfield’s Eye Hospital where physicians returned her a corneal rub – a procedure that involves making cells from the surface of the eyeball.
“It was as grim as it chimes – you identify the needle heading towards your look. It was excruciatingly pain, even though they use numbing look puts, ” she says.
Within eras she was told she had Acanthamoeba Keratitis( AK ), a rare but serious look infection caused by a micro-organism that’s common in tap water, sea water and swimming pools.
“I was feeling very offended and feared, as by then I had lost the eyesight in my right look. It was like gazing through a foggy bathroom mirror. I could see emblazons and conditions but not much else, ” she says.
The illness feigns about 125 parties in the UK each year – and the great majority of cases are associated with the use of contact lenses.
“I hadn’t had a shower or run swimming in my lenses, ” Ekkeshis alleges. “But I learned that even soaking your hands and not drying them properly before handling lenses can cause it.”
It was at the age of 12, that Ekkeshis decided to swap her thick “bottle-top” glasses for contact lenses.
“I suppose I was a self-conscious pre-teen, ” she says.
By the time she was 30 she wore daily disposable lenses, the genu you throw away each night, and she had never had any trouble with them.
But AK, in which an amoeba occupies the cornea – the clear front part of the eye – turned out to be a major problem.
At firstly, Ekkeshis was given antiseptic look descends to make every hour. She was told that as the infection had been caught early it was necessary to dried in a matter of weeks.
But her look didn’t respond to the therapy, and because the cornea has the highest concentration of aching receptors in their own bodies, she was soon in agony.
“The pain went worse as the infection developed, ” she alleges. “At meters it was insufferable and was almost impossible to self-restraint, even with the strongest painkillers.”
She could not work and eventually quit her job as a wander busines director.
Her eye streamed for months until physicians started to get the infection under control. The aching likewise started to subside. But by now the cornea of her right look was scarred, leaving her eyesight in this eye blurred.
In May 2013 she had a corneal transplant, which appeared to be a success.
“It was astounding to be able to see through both looks for the first time in a long time, ” she says.
However, after 10 eras Ekkeshis noticed the spate in her right look was becoming cloudy again.
“I had a scan which strengthened the AK had moved in to the new transplant. I was back to square one. It was devastating.”
A second transplant followed in 2014.
“My eye stabilised and I was no longer in pain, ” she says.
However, something then went wrong with her retina and she completely lost her eyesight in that look. Doctors have told her they suspect that inflammation caused by AK was different sources of their own problems – and that her spate is unlikely to return.
During her illness, Ekkeshis discovered that none of her friends or clas, many of whom wore contact lenses, knew about health risks of disclosing them to water. So she decided to set up a campaign from her sofa to tackle the issue.
She been observed that while a refuge brochure was caused it wasn’t generally included inside the lens chests, so the information rarely contacted lens wearers.
She asked the British Contact Lens Association why there was no telling on the boxes. When told there simply wasn’t office she designed her own “No Water” graphic.
“At that quality the industry realised I was serious and they became encouraging. We developed these No Water stickers that opticians could stick on chests, ” she says.
Ekkeshis spoke at consultations to promote the campaign and it spread to the US very, after she allured “members attention” of the American Academy of Optometry.
She hopes one day the “No Water” graphic will be automatically published on all contact lens chests.
Using her campaigning know-how, she has co-founded an enterprise announced The New Citizenship Project.
“Our purpose is to do parties more involved in society. When you think and behave like a citizen “youre feeling” capable of creating change, ” she says.
Meanwhile Ekkeshis , now 36, has had to adapt to her impaired sight.
“You do things to help cope era to era. So if I’m going to a banquet with acquaintances I try to sit closer to the wall on my right side so I can see everyone, ” she says.
“But it is hard. Sometimes people can get huffy on modes of public transport if you bump in to them because you can’t see your right side.”
The eyelid is now droopy, which is common in AK.
“My advice to parties is simple. Never let your lenses come into contact with water – in the rain, swimming or when washing.
“Although infections like AK are rare, I’m proof they can happen and the results can be devastating.”