Warning: Graphic content unsuitable for the young and the faint-hearted
I'm suffering from a corneal infection with 3 ulcers in my left eye.
Before I experienced this myself, I never ever knew that ulcers could grow in the eye. You know how painful ulcers in the mouth are? Try having them in the eye. Nope, don't ever try coz I pray that nobody, nobody should ever get ulcers for corneal infection. Having ulcers in the eye is one of the most excruciating pain ever. Fortunately the pain is almost gone by the time I'm crafting this post.
It started on the wee hours of Sunday morning. After a CNY gathering with friends, I removed my coloured contacts and felt pain and discomfort in my left eye each time I blinked. The pain felt as if I had a hole in my eye. After cleansing my face and showering, I noticed lots of broken capillaries. The pain got more intense and I had no choice but to close my eyes and drift off to sleep.
Bimbotic thoughts aloud: I hate my freckles/ sun spots whatever you call them.
The next day, the "hole-y" pain continued. It was a Sunday and still a CNY weekend so we had guests over at our place. Buddy Cyn and Godson Jase also dropped by to visit and I could still managed a goofy smile through the pain and discomfort.
The Intense Pain Started
After a day of rest away from contact lens, I thought that the pain and discomfort would slowly dissipate. I was in for a shock the next day. I woke up with excruciating pain and could hardly open my left eye at all. Each time I sat up or stood up, there was immense blood pressure at the eye. It was so intense that I felt like my eye would just burst and spew blood. The pressure on the eye not only caused pain but induced a bad headache and nausea and hence I called in sick.
I tried getting back to sleep but was in so much pain and discomfort that I had to call my hubby from work and asked if he could take me to see some eye specialist. By that time, I could not open my left eye anymore. Apparently the people at his workplace felt my condition was serious when he informed them. After making some arrangements, he came back and sent me to an eye specialist whose number I found off the Internet.
Being cooped up indoors with the blinds drawn, I was not ready for the bright sunlight outside. Even with shades on, the light blinded me and tears flowed down uncontrollably. I felt like a vampire there and then burning under the scorching sun.
At the Eye Specialist
Over at the clinic, the doctor had difficulty trying to open my eye for all the various tests and he had to support my lid while doing the tests. He tested my vision, dilated my eye, dripped some substance into my eye every now and then and after sitting at 3 machines for tests, he told me that I was suffering from a corneal infection with ulcers. There was also lots of white blood cells floating about in the aqueous which made it cloudy. Fortunately my vision wasn't affected by the cloudiness and ulcers as the latter weren't over my pupil.
Kh and I were pretty amused coz we had never heard of ulcers in the eye before. When the doctor pointed out the 3 white spots as ulcers, Kh was totally grossed out. We thought that we could see the ulcers only from the doctor's camera and when he told us that they could be seen with the naked eye, we were quite excited to see the ulcers.
The top picture shows the ulcers (the 3 white spots) as seen with the naked eye and the bottom picture shows the spots taken with the special camera. Ignore the Sadako-looking eye at the botton left picture. The doctor told me to look down when he took that shot.
How Corneal Infection Occur
The main reason why corneal infections occur would be because of bacteria entering the microscopic scratches on our cornea(from daily wear and tear especially from the constant removing of soft contact lens from the eye) and causing an infection. Ulcers may not necessarily follow but if they do, there would be great pain on top of the bloodshot condition. The doctor speculated that in my case, it could have been due to frequent contact lens wear.
As I was raining lots of questions on the doctor, I suddenly realised that I could open my eye without much difficulty. It was then that he told me he dripped anesthetic into my eye. I was almost thrilled and asked if I could buy that wonderful solution. Of course he said no.
Lessons to Take Home from this Experience
Here comes a few lessons to take home from my experience. I hope that this would serve as a warning to all contact lens users out there. But before that, here are some facts to chew on first.
1. I'm one who never gets eye infection till this experience.
2. I've been wearing monthly disposable soft contact lens for more than 10 years, not every day but most of the time.
3. I've only worn 3 different brands of monthly disposable contact lens -- Geo, Freshkon, Freshlook ColorBlends.
4. I could wear my contact lens for a lot more than 12 hours without feeling discomfort.
5. I fell asleep on a few occasions with my contact lens on without any serious problem.
6. I'm playing with my eye but I sometimes wear my contact lens for more than a month without any serious problem. (Both for clear and coloured)
7. For monthly disposable coloured lenses, I wear them for a lot more than a month. I have the mentality that since I only wear them on occasions, I tend to focus more on the few number of times I wear them as oppose to wearing them only once or twice and then throwing them away after a month. I'm sure there are many of you out there with the same mentality as me so please, don't do that! Our eyes are a lot more important than thinking about the number of times a lens is worn.
From the above, you could see how many times I ill-treated my eyes without suffering any major problem at all. All these made me more daring.
My good friend Gera who studied optometry often shakes her head when she knows of my practices and got tired of telling me off. I am finally getting my just desserts and this has made me a little more kiasu.
I know that with many gals and even guys love to wear coloured lenses, circle lenses or what you call those big eye contacts. Speaking of which, I also wore those daily disposable enlarging black lens on 2 occasions. Those were the worst on me. My eyes turned red without pain both times I used them.
Other than all the risks of having the colour dye going into the eyes for those cheap imitations and all the other risk factors involved wearing coloured contacts on a daily basis in the long run would affect vision. Even with all this knowledge, vain people like us still continue to wear lenses and some of us do not even clean our lenses and cases thoroughly.
I have been going to work with glasses and no make up at all the past week. I would rather play safe than to look pretty. Beside that, I will continue to wear my glasses for quite a while even after my eye has healed. It is good to give my eye a break. I wouldn't want to be causing scratches on my eye surface by constantly pinching the lens out. The reason why I do not like wearing glasses is coz they would give me double vision due to my huge difference in degree. Contact lens gave me no such problem at all.
I had better stop all my 7 bad habits of eye care (or the lack of) before something more serious than corneal infection with ulcers happen. BTW if corneal infection is not treated, one could go blind. So please do not play play with your eyes. It is better to look plain than to go blind.
PS: Thank you dear hubby for being my eyes that day. No thank you for saying my intellect seemed to have gone down together with my blindness and for saying that you wished the anesthetic wore off soon coz I was annoying by talking too much when I was not in pain.