Sunday, April 14, 2024

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    A parasite in running water left a woman blind

    The young woman inserted a contact lens with her wet hand after washing them. In addition, a series of misdiagnoses led to her condition getting worse.

    Charlotte Clarkson, from the Scottish city of Edinburgh, was left blind in one eye by parasites that inhabit tap water, reports The Daily Mail.

    The 24-year-old woman contracted the infection while on a trip to Canada. Before going to bed, as is her custom, she put on contact lenses that she wears only at night to restore vision. This time she did it with wet hands because she washed them under the tap and did not dry them. The next morning her right eye was irritated and within days it turned red and inflamed.

    The specialist Clarkson saw considered that the cause of the irritation was an aggressive type of style. Two weeks later, the pain intensified, so the young woman decided to consult another doctor. He confirmed the diagnosis and prescribed antibiotic drops. Despite that, the inflammation did not go away and even a bright light began to cause pain.

    Finally, after more medical tests, another ophthalmologist diagnosed her with keratitis, presumably caused by the herpes simplex virus. However, the steroid treatment he prescribed didn’t work either.

    Two months later, Clarkson’s condition worsened to the point that he required hospitalization. Upon admission, they asked her for the first time if she had worn contact lenses and if they had been exposed to water. This could indicate that he had Acanthamoeba keratitis, a rare disease in which this type of amoeba penetrates the cornea of ​​the eye.


    Although his condition fit the diagnosis, in samples of his cornea, sent twice for analysis, the organism was never found. John Dart, a professor at the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London, explained to the outlet that cases like Charlotte’s are often misdiagnosed because the corneal scraping test detects only half of the infections.

    Meanwhile, Clarkson’s vision continued to deteriorate. When she could no longer make out even the largest letters on the visual acuity chart, a Canadian doctor advised her to return to her homeland. Already in Scotland, six months after contracting the disease, another test confirmed the infection of the right eye with the amoeba Acanthamoeba.

    The treatment helped the young woman return to normal life, but first, she had to spend three months at home. Due to the pain caused by the light, she could not read or watch television. Even after recovering, you must take medication to prevent the appearance of new sources of infection.

    “I knew it was dangerous to bathe or swim with contact lenses, but I had no idea that even minimal contact with water could have such disastrous consequences,” Clarkson confessed.

    For his part, Dart said that most contact lens wearers are simply unaware of the dangers of exposing them to water, so he believes that contact lens companies should put special warnings on their packaging.

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