Ophthalmologist Shares Shocking Video Removing 23 Contact Lenses from a Patient's Eye

Dr. Katarina Kurteeva, a California ophthalmologist, is educating her followers about contact lens hygiene after removing 23 lenses from a patient’s eye

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A California ophthalmologist is detailing the shocking moment she removed 23 contact lenses from a patient's eye.

In a now-viral video, Dr. Katarina Kurteeva, an ophthalmologist at California Eye Associates in Newport Beach, is seen removing several contact lenses from underneath the eyelid of a patient who had forgotten to remove them each day.

Kurteeva said the patient came to her with complaints of pain and blurred vision. She said on social media that she used a surgical device to remove the contacts, which were "essentially glued together after sitting under the eyelid for a month."

While her patient was "baffled" by the situation and doesn't know how she forgot about so many contact lenses, Kurteeva explained to ABC7 how the accident could occur.

"As you wear contact lenses for many years, over 20 to 30 years, our cornea, which is the most sensitive part of the eye, becomes desensitized, which is essentially a protective feature because otherwise you'd be really bothered by everyday contact lens wear," she explained. "After all, it is a foreign body in your eye."

"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 said, noting that this case involved a senior patient who was experiencing a lot of facial changes. "So, the pocket of the upper lid becomes really deep. So in that case, all those contact lenses were able to hide like a stack of pancakes really far deep inside in the least sensitive part of the eye."

Macro shot with selective focus on the contact lens as a wearer inserts one into their eye.

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Though she admitted it's a "rare occasion," Kurteeva is using her patient's story to educate her followers about contact lens hygiene. She told the outlet that she suggests doing your eye care routine with your dental care routine so it's easy to remember.

"As you reach for the toothbrush, get the contacts out, then brush your teeth. In the morning, as you reach for the toothbrush, put the contacts in with artificial tears and then brush your teeth afterwards. It's very basic," she said.

Kurteeva said the patient "quickly recovered" and is back to her daily routine, and is surprisingly looking forward to wearing contact lenses again. She added that the patient is very lucky that she didn't have any severe or permanent damage to her eyes.

"It doesn't always end this well," Kurteeva said. "I've been in practice for almost 20 years and I've seen some cases really go south, where people develop vision-threatening infections... from even like a day of overnight contact lens wearing."

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