healthHealth and Medicine

A Person Lost Their Contact Lens 28 Years Ago, And A Doctor Just Found It


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

Don't worry: this is very, very unlikely to happen to you. Lasse Ansaharju/Shutterstock

Ah, BMJ Case Reports. Although it’s meant to be somewhere that clinical professionals can search for potentially obscure medical cases in order to help them out in their own healthcare quests, it also provides the media with plenty of opportunities to gross themselves out.

Case in point: the lady whose contact lens was caught in her eyelid for nearly three decades. 


As explained by ophthalmologists from Dundee in Scotland, a patient turned up with a swelling in her left eye’s upper eyelid, which was also showing some drooping (ptosis). An MRI scan revealed that a cyst had formed in the region, which was promptly investigated through surgery. This unveiled the presence of a rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lens, which appeared to have become embedded within the soft tissue of the eyelid.

“It was later revealed that the patient experienced childhood trauma while wearing RGP contact lenses 28 years previously,” the report explains. It was assumed that during this trauma, the lens fell from her eye and was lost, but it appeared that it found its way into the eyelid. For the last 28 years, it seemed to create no symptoms, but when it did, it betrayed its inconspicuous location.

The trauma, by the way, was a mere accident. She was playing badminton as a teenager and the shuttlecock smacked into her left eye, causing what is, by all accounts, an incredibly rare biological mishap.

BMJ Case Reports contains around 15,000 articles involving medical mishaps and curiosities spread out across 70 countries. As it turns out, rather unsurprisingly, there are far worse things you can get stuck in your peepholes.


How about this study that describes how the Loa loa parasitic worm got lodged into the space between the iris and the cornea’s inner surface of a deeply unfortunate patient? Or how about this case, which tells the tale of how what appeared to be a detached retina turned out to be a tumor that was ossifying – as in, turning into bone?

Here’s a particularly cringeworthy one: a 56-year-old woman found herself with a painful, bright red eye for an entire day and wished to know what it was. Her general practitioner couldn’t locate the problem, but it ultimately transpired that she had had a haircut just before her symptoms started. That’s right – a tiny hair had lodged itself in her eyelid’s lacrimal punctum, the eyelid’s collection duct for tears.

You certainly don’t even have to get something stuck in your eye for peculiar problems to develop. I’m sure we can all feel sorry for the man whose left eye was damaged after getting sheep bile splashed into it.


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