Oct. 19, 2022 -- A California eye doctor is urging people to be more vigilant when wearing contact lenses after removing 23 contact lenses from a patient’s eye.
In a video posted on Instagram, ophthalmologist Katerina Kurteeva, MD, is shown removing contact lenses from a woman's eye.
“Don’t sleep in your contact lenses!" she warned.
“They were essentially glued together after sitting under the eyelid for a month,” Kurteeva said in the post.
The patient is doing fine and wants to continue wearing contact lenses, the doctor told the Los Angeles ABC News affiliate, noting that the patient didn’t know how she could have forgotten to take her lenses out.
About 45 million Americans wear contact lenses, according to the CDC. Contact lens usage increases the risk of infections such as microbial keratitis. In severe cases, microbial keratitis can cause blindness or require corneal transplant.
Kurteeva told the Los Angeles TV station that the cornea becomes desensitized after years of contact lens wear.
"This is essentially a protective feature, because otherwise you'd be really bothered by everyday contact lens wear. After all, it is a foreign body in your eye," she said. "So when the cornea loses sensitivity, it's sort of an adjustment, but at the same time, you don't feel when something is really wrong as acutely."
Kurteeva encouraged people who wear contact lenses to follow safety practices such as safe handling and storage procedures.
Read more about contact lens safety from the FDA.