When Irenie Ekkeshis’s eye started to itch she assumed it would soon settle down. It didn’t. Before long, she found herself in excruciating pain and lost her sight in that eye. And the cause may have been nothing more than handling her contact lenses with wet fingers.
One Saturday morning in January 2011, Irenie Ekkeshis woke up to find her right eye was streaming with tears. So she went to the chemist’s and picked up some eye drops.
2011年一月份一个周六早晨，Irenie Ekkeshis 起床后发现右边眼睛一直不停地流眼泪，她去药店买了些眼药水。
I thought 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 found the fluorescent lights too bright. It was painful.
Within days she was told she had Acanthamoeba Keratitis (AK), a rare but serious eye infection caused by a micro-organism that’s common in tap water, sea water and swimming pools.
I was feeling very shocked and frightened, as by then I had lost the vision in my right eye. It was like looking through a foggy bathroom mirror. I could see colours and shapes but not much else, she says.
I hadn’t had a shower or gone swimming in my lenses, Ekkeshis says. "But I learned that even washing your hands and not drying them properly before handling lenses can cause it."
She could not work and eventually quit her job as a travel company director.
You do things to help cope day to day. So if I’m going to a meal with friends I try to sit closer to the wall on my right side so I can see everyone, she says.
She completely lost her vision in that eye in 2014. Doctors have told her they suspect that inflammation caused by AK was the source of the problem - and that her sight is unlikely to return.
The eyelid is now droopy, which is common in AK.
My advice to people is simple. Never let your lenses come into contact with water - in the shower, swimming or when washing.
Contact lens dos:
Wash and dry your hands before handling your lenses
Apply your lenses before putting on make-up
Keep your eyes closed when using hairspray or other aerosols
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