An 18-year-old Florida teen almost went half blind after an amoebae-like parasite on her contact lens ate through her one of her corneas, forcing physicians to "drill" into her eye to remove the threat.
Ashley Hyde, a South Florida high school senior, recently contracted an acanthamoeba infection in her left eye
after failing to regularly change her disposable lenses, the Daily News reported.
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The infection caused Hyde's left eye to redden and throb, eventually blurring her vision. Doctors could not tell initially what had caused the infection to spread, Florida's
Local 10 News reported.
"They did multiple cultures where they scrape your eye," Hyde told Local 10. "One time, they had to drill into my eye. It was really nasty."
After experts determined she contracted an acanthamoeba infection, physicians were able to remove the parasite and prescribe an antibiotic for Hyde.
Acanthamoeba is a microscopic parasite found in soil and water
. It can spread among humans via contact lenses, cuts, open wounds, or through inhalation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"Every day, we see people come in with contact lens related to infections, complications, ulcers," said Adam Clarin, an optometric physician, in an interview with Local 10. "There are all things that are potentially blinding."
Clarin said the infection is preventable for people with contact lenses if they change them frequently.
"There is nothing safer or healthier than throwing out the lens every day and starting with a new one the next day," he said.
Bacteria, fungus, or even herpes could cause cornea infections like Hyde's, according to the CDC. However, these infections are relatively rare.
The same parasite responsible for Hyde's cornea infection can also cause dangerous brain and spinal cord infections, and other widespread infections, the CDC reported.
A 2007 outbreak of Acanthamoeba keratitis, the technical term for the cornea infection, led to a recall of Advanced Medical Optics Complete MoisturePlus contact solution, which was reportedly linked to the condition in the U.S., according to the CDC.
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