A woman told last night how her eye was eaten away by what she claims was a contact lens fungus.
Jacqueline Stone, 42, spent 17 weeks in hospital after wearing popular disposables for one day.
Jacqui, who bought the Focus Dailies All-Day Comfort lenses online in the UK, said: “They felt uncomfortable all day. When I took them out, the left one had stuck to my eye.”
Her vision became blurred and she was given drops by her doctor. Two days later, the maths teaching assistant was in agony and went to A&E where she was given MORE drops – only for it to worsen last May.
The mum of two recalled: “A white pocket of pus started forming over my pupil and eventually burst, splitting my eyeball.
“I was screaming. My 15-year-old son Charlie called an ambulance and I was given morphine, but it didn’t touch the pain. I’ve given birth twice but nothing compares to that. I could feel the bug eating through my eye.”
Recovery … Jacqui Stone in Addenbrooke’s
Jacqui saw specialists at her local Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, and at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, who prescribed drops.
After another month, she went to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, where she was finally diagnosed with a fungal infection caused by Fusarium. It had eaten through three layers of her eye and 70 nerves. Powerful drugs then caused severe vomiting which led to internal bleeding.
After 22 ops, surgeons were forced to remove her eye. Jacqui, from Rayne, Essex, said: “It would have killed me. Now I’m terrified the fungus will come back if I get ill.”
To try to save money, she bought the lenses on the internet from Lenstore.co.uk.
Jacqui is now suing Alcon EyeCare UK Ltd is also part of Cibavision, which makes the lenses.
She is also suing Broomfield and Moorfields Hospitals.
Alcon said: “We were concerned to hear of this and, after an investigation, have not found any connection between the contact lens and the woman’s unfortunate experience.”
Moorfields vowed to “review the care received” while Mid Essex NHS Trust said it was co-operating.
FUSARIUM is a fungus which can cause a severe infection if it comes into contact with the eye.It affects the cornea — the front part of the eye — and can cause blindness. Symptoms include blurred vision, discharge, swelling, tears, pain and sensitivity to light.
It should be treated with anti-fungal drugs, but what is claimed to be the best medication is not yet approved for UK use.
How to avoid it
EXPERTS last night warned contact lens wearers of the added risk factors for infection.
The British Contact Lens Association said that risk factors include:
– Using tap water during lens care (to rinse lenses or the storage case). And not drying your hands properly before handling the lens.
– Wearing lenses while swimming without goggles, showering or in hot tubs.
– Using ineffective contact lens care solutions.
– Failing to follow the lens care instructions.
– Not having regular contact lens checks – at the very least, this should be done once a year
At Ashleigh Sight Care, we advise: