A 25-year-old woman had a frightening experience when she discovered that her itchy eye was actually a corneal ulcer caused by wearing contact lenses. Steph Carrasco, a recruitment consultant from Wales, had to undergo emergency cornea transplant surgery to save her eye. Corneal ulcers are open sores on the layer of the eye that covers the iris and pupil. People who wear contact lenses are more susceptible to developing corneal ulcers if they don’t properly clean their lenses or leave them in for too long, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Other factors that increase the risk of corneal ulcers include having or previously having cold sores, shingles, chicken pox, using steroid eye drops, having dry eyes, or eyelid disorders. Symptoms of corneal ulcers include redness, pain, swelling, the feeling of having something in the eye, discharge, and a white spot on the cornea.

Carrasco sought medical help when her eye became itchy, and her optometrist quickly identified the ulcer and arranged for immediate treatment at a hospital. She spent a week in the hospital where she received 72 eye drops per day in an attempt to reduce the size of the ulcer. However, surgery was ultimately necessary.

While most corneal ulcers heal within two to three weeks with proper treatment, Carrasco’s case required a corneal transplant. She expressed gratitude for her optometrist and the hospital’s medical team, who saved her eye from further damage. Three weeks after the surgery, Carrasco’s vision has improved, and doctors expect her to make a full recovery by October.

This incident serves as a reminder of the importance of proper contact lens hygiene and regular check-ups with an optometrist. It’s crucial to follow guidelines for cleaning and wearing contact lenses to avoid potentially serious eye conditions.

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