A 25-year-old woman had a frightening experience when she discovered that her itchy eye was actually a corneal ulcer caused by her 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. While they are usually caused by infection or severe dry eye, wearing contact lenses can increase the risk if they are not properly cleaned or left in for too long. Other factors that can contribute to corneal ulcers include cold sores, shingles, chicken pox, use of steroid eye drops, dry eyes, and eyelid disorders. Symptoms of corneal ulcers include redness, pain, swelling, discharge, and a white spot on the cornea. Carrasco’s optometrist quickly identified her ulcer and arranged for immediate treatment. Despite receiving 72 eye drops a day to reduce the size of the ulcer, Carrasco ultimately needed surgery. Most corneal ulcers heal within a few weeks with proper treatment, but in rare cases like Carrasco’s, a corneal transplant is necessary. Thankfully, she is expected to make a full recovery by October. This incident serves as a reminder of the importance of proper contact lens hygiene and regular eye check-ups.

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